I've just bought a 1998 one of these for not much money. Amazingly it seems
pretty good and everything I look at shows evidence of careful owners.
There are some faults (that I've found so far) and I'm listing them here in
the hope that some of them might be common ones. It's an automatic,
Firstly the doors seem to rattle when I'm driving but not when I thump them.
Do I remember hearing this complaint about E39s before?
The DSC warning light is always on. No idea what fails on this, anyone
I thought the coolant was low, suspecting a leak, but it turns out you read
the level from a floating pointy red thing, implying that you're not
supposed to see the water. However, the pointy thing is stuck. Maybe it
has a leak, maybe it doesn't, I can't tell without that indicator.
The check control display is missing a lot of dots, which I know is common,
but since it only lights up on warnings it's not too bad. Can it be
replaced cheaply though? More annoying is the lack of backlight on the
mileage reading on the display above - I'm hoping this might just be a
replaceable bulb or LED?
There is a light knocking from the engine at idle that you can hear from
underneath but not above. I wondered if it could be the gearbox but it
sounds like top end / cam noise except for the location.
It has the BMW phone which wants a credit card-sized SIM card. Can this be
useful at all? If it has a full hands free system can it be adapted to work
with a modern phone? Otherwise can the BMW phone be resurrected somehow?
Lovely car, seems to have all the options except sunroof, and everything
else seems to work, even the electric memory seats. Satnav, TV and CD all
work. Averaged an inspiring 18.7mpg so far.