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  #1  
Old 10-11-2004, 03:17 PM
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BMW 540i issues?

I know a few members have had these cars, and was wondering about potential issues with the E39 V-8 sedans. I have a friend that is considering one, and was hoping to help him out a bit with some things to watch out for...

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2004, 03:38 PM
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The single most important thing to look out for is oil change intervals. If the car doesn't have service records- beware. If the car has records and the oil was changed only once every 12,000 miles - potential problems again. Look for one that was babied and had regular oil changes like normal people at 3000 mile intervals.

Good Luck
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2004, 04:38 PM
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BMW Cylinder Wear

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackmercedes
I know a few members have had these cars, and was wondering about potential issues with the E39 V-8 sedans. I have a friend that is considering one, and was hoping to help him out a bit with some things to watch out for...

Thanks!
The early all-aluminum V-8 used a nickel coating on the cylinder walls. The high sulpher in U.S. gasoline caused this coating to wear away. BMW extended the warranty on the engine to 100,000. To rebuild, a new block is required. I don't know if the warranty is transferrable or not.

Honda patented an aluminum coating around the same time. It holds up well. If I am not mistaken, BMW is now using a similar coating to the Honda for the new V-8.

-Charles
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2004, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdanschwartz
The early all-aluminum V-8 used a nickel coating on the cylinder walls. The high sulpher in U.S. gasoline caused this coating to wear away. BMW extended the warranty on the engine to 100,000. To rebuild, a new block is required. I don't know if the warranty is transferrable or not.

Honda patented an aluminum coating around the same time. It holds up well. If I am not mistaken, BMW is now using a similar coating to the Honda for the new V-8.

-Charles
That was in the 4.0 liter E34 not the 4.4 liter E39 that suffered from high sulpher content found in U.S. gasoline.
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Old 10-12-2004, 12:09 PM
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Don't worry about cylinder linings

The cylinder lining problem only affected the E34 5-series body style (and the E32 7-series, possibly some 95 and 96 E38 7-series). The problem is caused when the nickel-silicon coating reacts with sulphur in gas. The coating degrades and you need a brand-new engine to the tune of $10-12k.

The E39 5-series wasn't introduced until the 1997 model year - BMW had switched to Aluminum-Silicon (Alusil) coatings by then.

Mke sure your buddy gets a good pre-purchase inspection. Suspension components on the E39 (and BMWs in general) wear quickly and can cost an arm and a leg to replace.

Troy
1995 E420 85k (Previously owned 88 735i and 86 635csi)
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2004, 12:15 PM
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Stevebfl is on his second E39 540i.

He has posted on his experience with this car from time to time, and compared it to his experience with the Mercedes he's owned.

I remember reading that while it has definitely been more expensive to own, he has mentioned that it is the best driving car he has ever owned.

Try a search on Stevebfl's posts for more detail.
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2004, 02:08 PM
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Common problem on the 540 included

radiator failure (plastic neck),
wheel bearing,
engine cam position sensors....

try
http://www.bmwtips.com/

for most DIY tasks.
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  #8  
Old 10-12-2004, 02:13 PM
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If you want to really help your friend talk him into buying a BENZ
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2004, 03:25 PM
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Thanks for Clearing That Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by lino
That was in the 4.0 liter E34 not the 4.4 liter E39 that suffered from high sulpher content found in U.S. gasoline.
I knew that some BMW V8s had the block problem but I was not familiar with the model numbers or years.

So basically anything after 97 is okay?
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  #10  
Old 10-12-2004, 10:18 PM
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Look for "What's wrong with the V8" at
http://www.koalamotorsport.com/

This site contain vast amount of info regarding Aluminum engine rebuild:
http://www.msi-motor-service.com/download/broschueren/alu_en.pdf

BMW basically went cheap on the early V8 and reversed the course around 97. MB on the other hand, uses the Alusil engine since early 80s.
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  #11  
Old 10-12-2004, 10:53 PM
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I have a 99 540i 6 speed, the V8 is not a smooth engine, it is not as smooth as the V8 in my previous 400E, also not as smooth as BMW's I-6 engine, but the variable valve timing on this BMW V8 is continous, power delivery is way better than M119, it feels and sounds much powerful than M119, even though it only has 7 more horses and 200-300 lbs heavier. 4.4L only brings out 280-290hp, it has a lot of potential.
This car is brutally fast, the automatic is not much slower either, the handling is by far better than any Mercedes that I have driven.
I have driven it for 20K miles, so far I haven't encountered a problem. My only complaint about the car is slow throttle response from the engine, the V8's from 1999 have drive-by-wire, the dual mass flywheel makes it worse, it is very difficult to do a quick down shift due to the slow response. The clutch of V8 has a stupid design, it has a Clutch Delay Valve, which limits the hydraulic flow to the clutch slave cylinder, the effect is a ultra slow clutch engaging, I removed a CDV the second day I got the car, it got much better.
Original radiators on E39s had problem, most of V8's have blown theirs, fortunately the part is cheap. E39's have very light aluminum multi link suspensions at all four corners, light unsprung weight makes them handle like dream, but the suspension is very sensitive to wear and tear, alignment and tires balance.
When come to overall performance and practicality, personally I think there are few cars can compete with E39 540i.
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Last edited by carman850; 10-12-2004 at 11:24 PM.
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