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Thread: Looking at 1995 540i

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Voorhees, NJ
    Posts
    162

    Default Looking at 1995 540i

    Yesterday my son, Sean, wrecked his 1996 Mitsubishi 3000 GT. The car was valued at $5900 before wreck, $250 - 500 after wreck (salvage value). He now has my 1992 525i and I am looking for another BMW. I saw a nice 1999 740i for $18,900 but for openers it wouldn't start and had to be jumped. When it did start I saw something on the display that said Trans Program which immediately set off all kinds of warning signs in my head.

    I am now thinking of tapping my equity line and buying something that I know; another e34. I saw a 1995 540i, dark green beige leather with all the goodies. The mileage is 89,992 and it is selling for $8995. The vehicle is in great condition inside and out and carfax certified. It has been serviced at BMW and has verified stamped service records included. It sounds like a sound deal and a great car. My question is this: How have the 540i cars held up in comparison to the 525i cars. I would appreciate your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    176

    Default nikasil

    The biggest issue you will want to investigate is nikasil:
    http://www.bmwworld.com/engines/nikasil.htm

    Did you buy it?
    Job 14:1 Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.
    az

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    TO, CA, NA, EA
    Posts
    433

    Default

    Mmm, that sounds tasty. It isn't a 6-speed by any chance? Don't lose too much sleep over Nikasil, if it's a good runner it's probably worth it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    144

    Default I'm happy with mine

    Of course, many of the components are shared across E34'. But, even with the unique items it hasn't been bad. Perhaps my feelings will change if I have to replace the catalytic converters - 2 instead of 1


    I love the performance of the engine. However, there are a few items that it is good to be aware of. The M60B40 engine is sensitive to "false air" (vacuum leaks). Any kind of vacuum leak will cause engine performance to noticeably degrade. You'll need to stay on top of that. Cracked vacuum tubing, loose hoses, missing caps, will wreak havoc with performance along with causing the "check engine" light to illuminate.

    You'll also want to make sure that the bolts holding in the oil pump are tight. (Perhaps the dealer has already checked that). For some reason, BMW did not spec a tight enough torque for the nuts/bolts at engine assembly and they tend to loosen and fall out. It is a chain driven pump and if the pump falls into the oil pan at cruise speed the chain tends to do bad things to the engine's innards. It's a simple fix, just lower the oil sub-pan and tighten the bolts (maybe throw on a little LocTite for good measure).

    The plastic items in the cooling system tend to get brittle and degrade with age. The firewall mounted coolant expansion tank, the radiator, and water pump all tend to let go. Some owners used "standard" green anti-freeze and that tends to degrade the plastic even quicker. Of course, being a dealer serviced BMW it likely was serviced with the correct anti-freeze and distilled water.

    And of course there is the infamous "nikasil" issue. So much ink has been spilled over that I won't bother with it here. If, however, you want to know whether it is an Alusil vs Nikasil block you can check the block casting.

    On the 540 you'll have two oxygen sensors to replace when the time comes, two catalytic converters, two exhaust systems, 8 plugs vs 6, etc, etc.

    Otherwise, I've found the engine quite trouble free. It's easy to work on, no suprises.

    On the highway I get 27+ MPG, 17+ city.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Eastern Tennessee USi
    Posts
    14,788

    Default

    Hi Al,

    I have the 530 Nikasil engined creation and havent had any problems at all. I got real lucky and got a car that was pretty well taken care of until the previous owner.

    If the engine idles pretty smooth with the AC on in drive (if its an automatic). If it is Nikasil and that bothers you have a leak down test done, me personally don't think it's a big issue these days as long as you use premium fuel. Most Naysayers dont even own a Nikisil engined vehicle and dont completely understand the issue, theres enough opinions on this forum to fill a book the size of a set of encyclopedias.

    The intake leaks and stuff are common sence maintenance with the intake gaskets and PCV plate being a common area that will have to be addressed but a not so expensive afternoon project.

    If you have the automatic trans it requires the very expensive trans fluid and you should change out the filter and the fluid that comes out at about each 30k range.

    All the rest of the maintenance items are the same as the 525 and we all know what those are.
    95 E34 530I V2.37
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    74

    Default Hi Al

    We just picked up a 95 540i auto green with tan interior. It has 130k on it. So far we've had to put in a new radiator and heater core, no big thing since I went through it in the 535i not too long ago. Other than that the ride is solid. We were worried about the nikasil issue so we jacked up the front and looked for engine casting numbers. It has the alusil numbers so we inquired with the dealer for a history on the car. The block actually looked like it was just out of the crate, totally clean. We found out that the alusil block was installed less than 10k miles ago and was not covered by bmw, previous owner took care of the cost. We paid 5k for the e34 and we love it. It runs smooth and solid. I figured we were fortunate to find a steal.

    rommel

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Ashland, Oregon
    Posts
    253

    Default

    Well, I haven't had mine too long... but in the nearly 9 months that I've driven this car, and letting the fact that it has 235,000 miles on the chassis and 145,000 miles on the V8 sink in... I'm blown away with integrity of the vehicle.

    The car drives like a dream, tight... stable. Smooth riding, quiet. no rattles, squeaks, annoying noises.

    Front seat leather is worn some, and I've had to have some paint work done.

    I'd say the car you're looking at is a very reasonable deal, and considering the background you have on it, that peace of mind makes it worth a bit more.

    94 540i / 255k / 165k on the alusil / E.A.T. chip / Power Discs w/Akebono Pro Ceramic / E39 type 33's

    -Brandon G

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    central coast nsw au
    Posts
    1,221

    Default

    Mine is nothing but a pleasure, goes hard, feels fine nothing but regular and normal stuff to do now and then. if ur going to get another e34 it may as well be 540. I could not have any other car. only thing is, and jeff will know this, if u get pissed and need to sleep in your car u might not be able to stretch right out if ur over 6 feet tall.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    805

    Default

    Ahhh this issue....

    I purchased a 1995 530i in the last week in April, by the first week in June I needed to replace the engine. 0% Compression on 1 cylinder, substantial loss on remainding 7 cylinders. Car had 151,000 miles, and did not idle "really" rough. Seemed like a normal idle. DO check the block numbers, and have the leakdown test performed! It will save you $$$ ($5000 in my case)
    Rondell 58's|Eibach Springs|B&B Tri-Flow Exhaust|Shadowline|S/D Rotors|KYB Struts



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Eastern Tennessee USi
    Posts
    14,788

    Default

    and we never got an explanation on this claim...0 psi?? the piston must have been missing which is NOT a Nikasil issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by saj3n
    0% Compression on 1 cylinder
    95 E34 530I V2.37
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

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