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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to look at a 523i SE E39. It's a 1999 model so pre facelift. Done 74000 and claims to be rust free. MOT suggests slightly corroded brake lines. They want £2,100. What do you think? Deal or no deal :)
 

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Any pics? I always buy cars based on condition and service history/invoices. I would say the price is a little high for a 523 but I guess a dealer needs to make a profit. There's one for sale with 97k, 1 owner from new for less than £1k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I thought it was a bit high but up here in the Scottish highlands the choice can be a bit limited and can't travel far just now
 

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Ask them wether the CCV pipe work, the valve cover seal has been done, because I guarantee they will need doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ask them wether the CCV pipe work, the valve cover seal has been done, because I guarantee they will need doing.
Cheers. Not much of a mechanic, os the CCV pipe work the same as the valve cover Seal, or 2 different things?:confused: Been told the water pump is prone to failure too?
 

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Looks promising. As @bratty says, check paperwork for evidence of CCV, valve cover gasket and cooling parts. Even though it's only covered 74k miles those parts will need to be replaced at some point but hopefully they've been done. The CCV and valve cover gasket are two different things.

Valve cover gasket:



Crankcase ventilation:



Link to the 523 I mentioned: BMW E39 523i auto 97k Miles 1 owner from new | eBay
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone, that's really helpful. I'll check for those things. Thanks for the link too. It's maybe a question of whether leather seats is worth £1,100 to me 😆. I am a bit funny about cloth seats in old cars. Ideally I'd find one with leather sports seats for their comfort but you can't get everything (if you're impatient)!
 

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I have a 528i pre facelift with very similar spec, my advice would be that the low mileage might seem to be a reason for the (for me!) the high price, where in effect the thing against this car is the age! These cars do not age well, and require a lot of TLC to keep them working like they should, the Light control Module can be a bit “hit or miss” and throw many problems, the Instrument cluster is prone to pixel problems, its a big heavy car so the suspension is taking a lot of strain, anything that is rubber in the engine bay will be brittle
If it was an Original M-sport model ie.”body work not engine” then I think it would be worth a punt, but for a not powerfully engined pensioners (yep I almost qualify!) specced “Big Ship” then you need to decide if it fits your personal wishes/criteria . Do not let me put you off! The e39 is a very good car, but go in with “eyes wide open”, and I hope the rustiness that you described is not a precursor for other issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Bratty. Appreciate the opinion. Always good to hear all sides. I'm not totally sold on this car. The good bodywork and FSH are things that attracted me more than the mileage. Not looking for anything too fast, to be honest. More comfortable and enjoyable to drive. Don't want sluggish though. The M-Sport would be good for the seats if nothing else. The price does seem high but there is limited choice up here. The big question is whether I'm up for the ongoing maintenance. The plan is to get a second car that we can keep going for a long time and will serve us well. My preference is for higher spec older cars rather than the baseline newer Passats etc available which I find a bit soleless. I've read a lot about expensive ongoing maintenance which I have to seriously consider
 

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My e39 is a second car for when the e46 is playing up! I like BMW,s and am not being negative, but like any modern (old car) they have known problems. If you want a comfortable old car with leather think about an 80,s Mercedes 200D, they are BombProof (might have rust!) but the things run for ever.
 

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Yeah, are electric leather seats and the lower mileage worth £1100 to you? I actually prefer cloth seats. In my opinion, they're more comfortable and easier to maintain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, are electric leather seats and the lower mileage worth £1100 to you? I actually prefer cloth seats. In my opinion, they're more comfortable and easier to maintain.
There's a bit of convenience too, not having to go a huge distance to collect. It's all a balance. Bratty's trying to talk me out of it too 😜. Deep down I know there are more sensible options. But I do really like these old BMWs 🤔
 

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Please do not let me put you off, they are very well put together cars and rear passengers especially will comment on what a comfortable nice place it is to be,
As that “car sos” brewer bloke might say “its never going to shine like a diamond in a goats arrse”.
If it fits your needs and the car works, then go for it. But maybe haggle a bit harder on the price.
 

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The older BMWs are the best. I'm not a fan of any of the newer models or new cars in general.

We're not trying to put you off, just letting you know the weak points which you can use to haggle on the price. We wouldn't be much help if we simply stated 'yes, these cars are brilliant, buy one now!'
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just having a lark folks. I know you're not trying to put me off. I really appreciate your input. A very helpful sounding board. Thanks much 😀
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
These cars have timing chains don't they? The miles are presumably not a problem but is the age? Belts need changed at intervals of miles or years but then belts perish and chains presumably do not.
 

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Yes, timing chain. Age shouldn't be an issue if it's been well maintained. Rubber can deteriorate with age. Oil leaks are very common on BMWs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Went to see it. It's very clean outside and in. No knocks or squeaks when driving. Did feel sluggish in low gears around town, taking off from junction etc. Fine once you're going but not the nippiest overtaking. Valve gasket done but coolant system or CCV. MOT says it has a small oil leak. Loved the car but now wondering of a 525 or 530 might be better 😆
 

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The sluggishness is probably because of worn VANOS seals. Easy fix and can transform the car at the lower rev range, <3K.
 
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