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Thread: 340k-mile 528iT??

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    1994 "532i6", 1998 528iT

    340k-mile 528iT??

    So, two weeks ago I found this cleeeeean silver touring for sale on Facebook, and went to go take a look - it drove so well and had so many obviously new parts on it (the cooling system is literally all new parts) that I immediately traded my E34 touring in and brought her home. Someone clearly gave a f*ck about this car.

    20201209_155718.jpg
    20201209_155528.jpg

    With that said, the headlights are reps, the "eyeshadow" trims are black, there's a little shimmy from the front end that's *probably* the thrust arm bushings going out, and the shifter is the worst I've owned out of 8 cars. The cluster has been replaced as well, and in the service manual there's a note saying 135k = 235k... well, the cluster reads 240k now LOL. Checking out the CARFAX after the fact confirmed it, this car has a solid 340k miles on it but looks like 140k.

    Just look at the underside, new Billies, Eibach sways and just general cleanliness.

    20201209_135424.jpg

    The interior:

    20201209_155303 (1).jpg
    20201209_155454 (1).jpg

    While I'm kinda gloating, yes, I also earnestly want to know: HOW do you keep a car this clean for this long? I've owned and built track/race cars all my life to the point where I normally consider them as disposables. This is the first time I've encountered a car like this, and I do not want to waste the previous owners' efforts.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by circuit.heart; 12-15-2020 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    528i, 525iT, M5, x5 4.8
    Congrats on your vehicle purchase
    I think I can help you on the approach that will give a vehicle a long clean life that at high mileage, so the car in question still looks good, drives like a low mileage unit. It starts with frequent wash and wax, under the hood and inside, then adds in the care taker approach to preventive care maintenance that says fix every thing as it needs it, replace worn service parts before they fail, then check frequently to ensure everything is ok, and then add a little UV protection product to everything leather, vinyl or plastic. The "drive it like you stole it" followed by put away wet after hard uses, always ends with a vehicle that is worn out long before it's time. You can see this later group's vehicles a mile away. Bent wheels, parts way past their service life still in place, broken and cracked trim parts everywhere, and opening the hood is like cracking open a coffin after years beneath the earth's surface.
    Driving style either promotes long life or a trashed car with loose McDonalds rappers sliding around inside. Think of the got to be first off the light crew followed by the last to brake at a light driving style.
    question, why is it the top 10% cars in every class, always look clean and well prepared and the back markers look like they come from the last chance garage?

    Bottom Line: E39's are over engineered, over built and when closing a door, they sound like a bank vault. It is all around structural integrity that was built in.

    If you keep the practices that the previous owner had, you too will have a longer life car. Now, stay away from Rust Belt owned models as a winter driver has a very short life regardless of owner care.
    i will jump off the preaching stool now.....
    Last edited by StephenVA; 12-15-2020 at 07:58 AM.
    Current Garage Highlights
    2005 X5 4.8is Le Mans Met Blue
    2003 525iT TiSilver
    2002 M5 TiSilver
    1998 528i KASCHMIRBEIGE METALLIC (301) (Goldie)

    Former Garage Highlights
    2004 325iTs (2x)
    1973 Pantera L
    1971 Dodge Dart Swinger "Lite Package"
    1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 340 Six Pack Alpine White
    1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 340 Six Pack GoManGo Green
    1969 Road Runner 383
    1968 Barracuda Formula S 340 Sea Foam Green

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    01 54000 528T03 525T
    Shoot, I have a clean silver 525iT with 375,000 on it. Take care of it, and it will reward you.
    Set the controls for the heart of the sun

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    North Carolina
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    03 525it/5, 1967 GTO
    This thread gives me hope. What bums me out is all the wagon parts that are NLA. Including the rear window seals...sun in the South is not your friend.
    Shes the last of the V8s, she sucks nitro...phase 4 heads, twin overhead cams...600 horsepower through the wheels, shes meanness put to music...

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    1994 "532i6", 1998 528iT
    I suck at getting pictures on the post, yes I do. Fixed the OP.

    I fixed the one really obvious fail - a missing muffler - for $240 at my friend's local muffler shop. Looks and sounds perfect now, just enough to hear what rpm's I'm at (the tach lags, it's useless to me) but dead silent at cruise and idle.

    20201210_151328.jpg
    20201210_152002.jpg

    I also managed to crack what looks like a brand new Behr expansion tank.

    20201212_124045.jpg

    So I went in there and replaced it with a new Rein unit, and while I was in there, I wasn't sure if the thermostat was good so I removed it, and it turned out to be literally brand new as well (the rubber gasket had not even had time to soak in the blue coolant color). Oh well, I have a spare 'stat now.

    20201212_130308.jpg

    Looking ahead, I found a set of OEM 2001 Xenons in good shape, a pair of new Hella euro lenses, and OEM euro Celis tails. Not sure how long it'll take me to get this all working (I know I'll be making new 12V regulator/resistor loops for each LED array) but it'll be good to have factory headlamps again, for safety, and an updated set of tails to match.

    lights.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    I am in the process of stripping my green wagon for a complete paint job. These rear side window gasket not being available sure is a bummer. Painter says he can shove the foam roll they wedge in there to pull the edge away from the body. I got the gaskets for the rear door quarter windows, but I want those rear window gaskets too, sometimes, these Latvian ebay guys come up with some new old stock, just have to keep checking for them.
    Set the controls for the heart of the sun

  7. #7
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    I just took a quick look through the parts catalog. ECS is showing 51-72-8-190-632 in stock but not -631 for the left side. Time to buy up the last ones? Alternatively have you talked to an automotive glass shop or euro dealers? The wagons are relatively rare here but were pretty common in Europe they're probably going to be on the road for a few more years yet. I figure given some time BMW will probably make another run of these.

  8. #8
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    1994 "532i6", 1998 528iT
    eBay Latvia FTW. For a lot of the smaller miscellaneous seals though, I've gotten into the habit of literally crafting a new one using 3M Window-Weld. Going to be doing that for the rear door quarter-windows as the factory gaskets have crumbled into dust and it's a dumb part to have to re-gasket every decade.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    750IL/540iT/R53/E46Vert
    The Behr service units are crappy, and that is generous. Dont overfill - the red stick should be just below the lip. A OE dealer part is worth it here. The one in the pic is way overfilled. Looks like you did well.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blarf View Post
    I just took a quick look through the parts catalog. ECS is showing 51-72-8-190-632 in stock but not -631 for the left side. Time to buy up the last ones? Alternatively have you talked to an automotive glass shop or euro dealers? The wagons are relatively rare here but were pretty common in Europe they're probably going to be on the road for a few more years yet. I figure given some time BMW will probably make another run of these.
    To all the wagonistas reading this, a word of caution.
    That part number is for the interior fuzzy strip between the headliner and interior side panel.
    The exterior window gasket is only available with the window.
    Only a few left and basically $500.
    Not enough room for past/present garage

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wagons ho View Post
    To all the wagonistas reading this, a word of caution.
    That part number is for the interior fuzzy strip between the headliner and interior side panel.
    The exterior window gasket is only available with the window.
    Only a few left and basically $500.
    Ah good to know. That was listed on the diagram with the "Green side window with gasket". More interesting is that they're showing a different part split at Sep 2003 build. I wonder what the aftermarket availability is like…

    http://bmwfans.info/parts-catalog/E3...ixed_position/

  12. #12
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    Likely 0. Sept 2003 sounds like the end of the line for e39.....

  13. #13
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    Time to make some incremental changes, hunting for fuel economy. Aero is never a wagon's strong suit, so I picked up a cheap spoiler to test whether or not lengthening the roofline would help.

    20210103_164636.jpg

    VHB for test mounting.

    20210103_163623.jpg

    Test loop is simple, here in the Bay Area CA we have a lovely stretch of I-880 that's almost perfectly flat, consistent wind speeds and direction for the most part, so you can do A/B testing with cruise control starting from defined points along the route.

    Short answer if you're curious -- it didn't seem to do anything, no significant gain or loss at the angle I had it mounted. Since it was a little higher than ideal, I suspect it wouldn't hurt to try again with a lower mounting angle, but that's going to be a permanent install if I have to glue it (liquid thinner than solid foam tape).


    In the past few days I think I've developed a driveline vibration, so one of these weekends I'm gonna have to check out the guibo... what other failure points could cause a periodic (vibration phases in, then out, then in, then out) vibration from the rear end, starting from around 65mph? Gets stronger as the car approaches 80-85mph.

  14. #14
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    Guibo and the center bearing on the driveshaft suport.
    Set the controls for the heart of the sun

  15. #15
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    I finally tracked down the source of the vibrations - the guibo was old yes, but it was literally a harmonic from the rear wheels. F*** replicas lol. Found a set of 219M's for cheap on eBay, sent them to the wheel repair shop anyways to 100.00% straighten them out, bored the centers open to 74.1 and bolted it up. Instant +1/+2 to fuel economy, all the rear end vibrations solved.

    20210209_180536.jpg

    20210210_145638.jpg

    20210210_145649.jpg

    20210214_181216.jpg

    Now we've got more cooling system issues (aux water pump dead - guess it just doesn't bleed properly) and what feels like bushing shimmy in the front end, so time to put in another FCP Euro order and get this whiny brat sorted.

  16. #16
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    Haven't updated this thread but the car's been through quite a bit.

    Long story short, the engine blew headgasket after the expansion tank burst and lost coolant. So I went looking for a replacement M52TUB28 while starting to tear the engine bay down with the help of a friend.

    20220210_181106 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Side note, circular harnesses are retarded.

    20220210_201623 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Thank god for that friend because me taking apart the M52TU intake manifold alone isn't happening without a manual.

    20220211_181404 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Other threads have documented this better than I ever will, so, let's just say the engine came out.

    20220211_181424 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    20220211_181416 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    For fun, yanked the old plastic coolant pipes off by turning a 3-jaw puller into a 1-jaw. Nasty.

    20220211_221247 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    In an absolute stroke of luck, someone on eBay had run out of funds to finish their 2.8L Z3 project, so I found a listing for a car with no engine, and a suspicious description for a 2.8L engine with perfect compression numbers pulled from a Z3 project. Brought it home and started to inspect.

    20220211_181411 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Looks perfect to me, there was a little bit of grit in the intake tract from sitting so I vacuumed that out.

    20220211_221702 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Only had to swap over a few things (motor mount arms, oil pan) and replace one-time-use hardware like exhaust studs.

    20220212_160448 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    The inside of the engine looks a little varnished but I didn't find any grime at all.

    20220212_144533 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Ready to go back in:

    20220212_001136 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    New engine in...

    20220212_211247 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    ... and what an engine it is. I never imagined an old inline-6 can get anywhere near 40mpg, but here it is in a wagon getting fairly close. With a few tricks applied it actually has the potential to get there!

    Cruise-controlled on level highway, no wind, a bit under 65mph.


    You don't have to be astute to notice the gleaming SLS light, which, at least that's a pretty easy fix. I replaced the sensors (they were old) and the air pump (it had no compression even though the motor would turn) and all is now well there. Which then leads to the fun part, upgrades

    PXL_20221026_041359615 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Since this wagon is to be the go-anywhere car I wanted to give it a mild lift and bigger tires (height only to make space for articulation and snow). Working SLS makes this so easy. I could even corner-balance the car if I feel like it down the line haha.

    PXL_20221026_041746630 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    In the front, just raising the suspension will produce positive camber in the front wheels, so I had to find something that both lifted and corrected for camber. Hello Ireland Engineering. I picked up a pair of E46 adjustable camber plates and drilled one extra hole for the E39 top hat to fit.

    PXL_20221026_231409147 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Pretty easy install after that, and it totally works.

    PXL_20221026_234548768 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    Here's how it all looks together with some Wedssport TC105X Gravel mounted up. Tires are 215/70/15 Yokohama Geolandars and they're excellent. Thanks to the effectively taller gearing, there was no MPG hit of using all-terrains, the wagon still returns mid-30's to almost 40's on the highway.

    PXL_20221111_212900386 by Brian Ma, on Flickr

    I still have some ways to go - the replica M5 bumper is getting thrown out for an OEM 530i bumper, have to diag and fix a fuel leak near the left side saddle tank, and more parts are waiting to be installed to try and improve on aero. But things are looking good for this wagon and I've enjoyed driving it everywhere the last few thousand miles!

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    99 528i/5, 05 ZHP conv
    As you may have noticed, M52TUB28's are getting harder to find. You should bring your old motor back to life. I don't care how many miles it has on it.
    Get the head fixed, new piston rings, conn-rod bolts and bearings.. Main bearings if you want to - not needed, and sell it on...

    My M54 ('03 530i) has 418k

  18. #18
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    I wouldn't say that no, I find five M52TUB28's for every M52B28 (iron block) that I go looking for. The only thing I really feel like keeping from the original engine here is the crankshaft; the cams were scored, lifters seized, low compression in several cylinders so I assume the cylinder walls were scored. It's just incredibly difficult to get compression/leakdown numbers from most sellers so having confidence in the engine is hard.

    If this engine lets go, I'll build another one then. Having an engine built and sitting for years is almost as bad as having no engine at all.

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