I don't know about your 5 Series, but I have a 3 Series with the same motor,
and it has been almost completely trouble free in over 100,000 miles
(California). I bought my car with about the same miles as your car, and
before long the plastic radiator tank broke on a narrow mountain road with
no pull outs. I limped my car to the top of the hill after stopping several
times to let it cool off. From the failure point to the top of the hill was
only about 5 miles, and three stops. From the top of the hill, I switched
the motor off and coasted to the bottom, about 7 miles, where I was able to
get a tow truck to take me home.
The limping part proved to be more hazardous that I expected, and I damaged
the head. I bought my car below current market value, but the repairs
brought me back to market value for arguably a nicer car, but I have had no
further troubles. I have replaced the front brake pads a couple of times and
the front rotors once, and the rear pads once. Other than these normal
repairs and the regular maintenance, the car has not cost me a dime after
fixing the radiator and damaged head.
You need to look at the radiator and determine if it has plastic tanks. If
it does, and most do, then you need to check the inlet (top) hose and
fitting to see if the plastic is strong. My inlet tube physically broke
completely off and the engine pumped all of the coolant out onto the ground.
If you can catch this before it breaks, you can avoid potential damage to
I bought my '94 in 2000 with 105,000 miles. It just turned 210,000. I get
25mpg or better on every tank of gas with combined city and freeway driving
and doing mostly 80+ on the freeway. I can safely say that I never do less
than 70 on the freeway unless traffic demands, and when traffic permits, I
do 80 or better. If I could clamp my velocity at 70, I'm sure my mileage
would climb to about 30mpg.
My BMW has been the most pleasurable auto I have ever owned, with the
possible exception of my modified Jeep that goes places vehicles are seldom
asked to go.
With pretty well any car these days if it runs low on coolant for whatever
reason it's best to just stop. Aluminium heads - and or blocks - really
don't take kindly to being cooked. The cost of a tow off a motorway -
dunno what the US equivalent is - is likely to be less than the repair
costs if you limp on. Cast iron donks could stand all sorts of abuse, but
those days are gone.
*Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
Agreed, but when the road is narrow, winding and dark, and there is no place
to put the car so it will not get hit or the tow truck that comes to get it
will not get hit, driving to the first wide spot is the only option. My
mistake was in waiting for the motor to cool, then going the next 2 miles to
the top of the hill so I could coast to the bottom. The red warning light
only came on as I crested the hill. It was on for perhaps 30 seconds, I am
sure this must be about 31 seconds too long.
You're right, the tow would have cost much less than the repairs. But I was
so much younger then, I'm older that that now.
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