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Thread: Death of an E34... rebirth of an E39?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    West Palm Beach, South Florida


    I think you'll like the E39. A lot of people say that the interior isn't as nice, but I disagree. I think you'll find that the E39 interior is quite luxurious.

    As for the mechanicals, I'd prefer the 97 because of the OBDII. Being able to hook up a pocket scanner (or a regular OBDII scanner connected to a laptop) has been a huge help in troubleshooting, and I much prefer it to electrical troubleshooting on older cars. That said, theres more electrical crap to go wrong, so pick your poison.

    I want to say that the OBDII cars also have better fuel management (at least I know they have more O2 sensors), so without anything else to back that up with, I think thats why the E39 may get better fuel economy, although I got 19 in town with my 525i (5spd), yours seems low.

    Last, you can run all sorts of E39 wheels without hub rings That saves you a clean $12!
    93 525i / 01 330Ci / 98 Camry / 91 Volvo 240 / 99 Jeep GC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Austin, TX


    I like my '98 540i, it's a GREAT DD. The only thing i could ask for would be an LSD, but the E34 540i lacks this as well. I regularly see ~20mpg around town, and i've gotten 30 on the highway if i baby it. Normally it sees abotu 25-27hwy. Endless power, and comfy seats (comfort ones at least). DSP stereo is nice if you upgrade the speakers.
    1994 540iT/6 - 316k miles, 4.0L, 6spd, UUC Evo 2, Bilstein HD's, etc.
    1995 540iA M-Sport - 73k miles. 1 of 1 auto AW3 cars.
    2006 330i - 131k miles, wife mobile.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    There is a part here in this Wiki article on the M60 engine that covers the Nikasil problem.

    Quote Wiki:
    The composition of the engine can be found by checking the serial number stamped into the engine block:

    1 725 970 - Nikasil
    1 741 212 - Nikasil
    1 745 871 - Alusil

    1 725 963 - Nikasil
    1 742 998 - Nikasil
    1 745 872 - Alusil
    End quote.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Houston, Tx

    Default Death of an E34... rebirth of an E39?

    Guys, it's been a while... about 3 weeks now, and due to a crapped out camera, I wasn't able to take any pictures. 3 days before my birthday I was rear ended from a complete stop by a guy doing about 50mph on the way back to work. The resulting impact shot me into an SUV in front of me and sent the front end through the engine. Long story short, the car was written off yesterday and I felt really bad about it because I really liked that car.

    Here's where things get interesting.

    Insurance is paying out my car plus 2 months of medical (medical payment will come at the end of next month). I'm factoring that amount into my "spendable" replacement car money and just signing over my medical to my boss who's fronting the cash in the mean time. I've narrowed my search down to a 95 540/Auto, black/black 91k miles and a 97 E39 540M/6 speed, Canyonrot/Black with 130k miles.

    Both are roughly the same price. Both are gorgeous in their own unique ways and both look to be very well maintained by their previous owners. I really wanted an Arctic silver E39, but they're going for 2-3k more than my spending allowance which is why the Canyonrot is fine with me.

    Anyway, my concern is the nikasil/alusil thing with the 4-liter V-8's.

    * Which was the one to look out for?

    * Is there a way I can check if this has been done? (was carfax reported when the dealerships did the warranty engine replacement? is there a -campaign- sticker somewhere stuck in the engine compartment where it shows that "xxx" service was done meaning the engine was replaced?)

    The campaign sticker thing was something I used to have to do when I was a mechanic for Chevrolet. We would get recall work sent to us and we would have to put a small 1" x 2" sticker with a code for the kind of repair done for that particular recall.

    Last is more of an opinion question ... E39 or E34? I'm leaning toward the 39 since it's a newer model but really loved the 34 I had before as well. Do the 39's drive the same, or better in terms of road-handling, cornering and the like?

    Also.. I heard a rumor that the 540's get almost better milage than my 525 did (I averaged 14.9mpg mainly city driving, and have been told by several 540 owners that they average 17-20 in the city!). Is there any truth to their claim?

    "Scarlet" `97 540/6 with sleepy mods.
    "Box Car" '87 535isA - Old School Charm, new school Flair

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Seattle, WA


    I get 17-19 mpg city and 27-29 highway in my car. Which is certainly better than a friends '95 525iT. And it kind of annoys her a bit that I get better mileage out of my car than she does out of hers. But the 2.5 just doesn't put out enough torque to get the E34 moving easily. which is why smaller engines don't always equal better gas mileage...
    Cosmos Black/Black 1995 540iA M-Sport
    BMW Individual Exclusive Edition, 1 of 65 total, 9/25/95 Build

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Chicago, Il. U.S.A.


    I've owned E34's in nearly every variation and one E39, a 528ia.
    There is something to be said for the E39, it has more creature comforts, the ride is cushier and the comparable engines are improved.
    Visibility is dismal in the E39 due to it's large pillars and poor mirrors. If you like to know your position in traffic at all times the E39 will be very uncomfortable to manuever in.
    E39 electronics ARE are troublesome.
    Your potential E34's gearbox trumps the E39 with a slushbox performancewise.
    The old E34 is more visceral than the newer one. My E39 is a German Buick, wife loves it that's proof.
    "The gas pedal wouldn't go to the floor if it weren't meant to be there"

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