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  1. #1
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    E39 M5 questions

    Hello all!

    I am thinking about purchasing a used E39 '01-'03 M5. Test drove a '03 a month ago and I can't get it out of my mind:) I have never owned a M5 before and had some some general questions about them and wondering if there are anything I should be aware of.

    1. How many miles are these engines and drivetrains good for, if well maintained? Should I look for one with low miles?

    2. Are they reliable once after +100k?

    3. Is any of the years better than others?

    4. Are parts prices and avaliablity reasonable?

    5. Anything I should lookout for on used E39s?

    Thank you in advance for any insight and suggestions.

    Regards,
    Yo Han


  2. #2
    Stan
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    Re: E39 M5 questions

    As with any BMW is you take it to the dealer for service be prepared to pay. If you are a DIY guy, the parts can be had through a lot of different sources including the used area.

    Like most BMW V-8's they seem to leak oil. The stock clutch is too small. If you jump on the gas very often you will knock the clutch out guickly. The 11 inch conversion solves this problem. Lastly you will want to put ATF fluid in the transmission or you will quickly damage the syncro's when power shifting up and down gears.

    If you buy a 2000 make sure it was built after June if 2000. Prior to that they had oil burning problems.

  3. #3
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    Re: E39 M5 questions

    Stan,
    Thank you for the response and info!

    Do you completely replace all the tranny fluid with ATF or just ad some? How many miles are the engines in M5's good for?

    Thanks again!
    Yo Han

  4. #4
    dan
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    how can u check the production month?


  5. #5
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    Re: E39 M5 questions

    1. How many miles are these engines and drivetrains good for, if well maintained? Should I look for one with low miles? 2. Are they reliable once after +100k? 4. Are parts prices and avaliablity reasonable?

    Goto m5board.com and search the archives. You'll find many owners reporting excellent overall reliability with high mileage cars. The S62s seem somewhat less prone to certain failures/problems common to the M62s found in 540s.

    However, these are NOT inexpensive cars to own and maintain. Between replacing wear items (tires, brakes, etc), other relatively small items (O2 sensors, MAFs, etc), the occasional "big" job (e.g., clutch) and routine maintenance (fluids), you'll be spending at least $1k annually if you're outside of warranty coverage, have a car with some miles on it, and are driving it regularly.

    3. Is any of the years better than others?
    2001 and later have larger NAV screens, the AE headlights, and possibly (debatable) fewer overall problems vs. 2000s. Otherwise, there are only subtle differences between model years 2000-2003.

    5. Anything I should lookout for on used E39s?
    I would steer clear of any car that does not have a complete, documented maintenance history.

    '01 M5
    '90 M3

  6. #6
    M5_ZZT
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    Re: E39 M5 questions

    Yo Han,

    EdP does a good job of summarizing the reliability and durability of the E39 M5. The key point is (as with any German car)to stay on top of regular maintenance as well as fix any problems as soon as they arise. Unlike Japanese makes, a German car is extremely tempermental when it comes to repairing things quickly. Let one problem go and it quickly dominoes into more problems even after you fix the first problem. It is just the fact that German cars to some extent are over engineered and tightly constructed......that is to say because of their complexity and how tightly coupled each system is with each other you can't let maintenance slide at all. I agree that you must avoid at all costs any used M5 without a full documented maintenance record.

    I have a 2/00 build M5 I bought new in 3/00. It has been reliable compared with its peers (other high performance German cars) but no way as reliable/maintenance free as a Lexus. I knew that going in and you have to remember this is a high performance car pushing the engineering limits of mass production automobiles. I have the oil burning issue (but so does a Porsche 911 TT). This is a very high compression racing engine so oil leaks and oil burning is par for the course. The clutch, while some argue 9" is too small, can sufficiently handle the amount of torque and horsepower the car delivers. If you run the car in Sport mode consistently and like to do Mustang GT type burn outs all the time, then you are going to fry the clutch quickly. Germans don't understand why we like burnouts and see lack of traction as counter productive to acceleration. Also the clutch is the least expensive component to fix in the whole drivetrain. A rear end, or drive axle, or fly wheel would be more costly to repair if they didn't design a "weak spot" in the clutch.

    My car is 2 years out of warranty and I have put about 5K total into it. The biggest expense was a VANOS unit replacement because it sprung an oil leak. As far as water pumps, radiators, and fan clutches which are known 540 early failure components, the M5 seems to be immune. At 53,000 miles I am more than pleased with the car and while I have spent more on out of warranty maintenance than other cars, it's a small price to pay to have the thing completely fall apart due to negelect and end up costing thousands more to fix and/or maintain.

  7. #7
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    Thank you gents....

    ...for the great information and suggestions. I hope to pick a beast up within a year.

    Regards,
    Yo Han

  8. #8
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    Inner Circle ©53 since: Mar 20, 2012 m6fntsy is an unknown quantity at this point m6fntsy's Avatar
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    If UR interested, nice 01 M5 w/40K just traded in

    at BMW of Nashville. Black with cinnamon interior. From what I understand, it's in top condition. It's rare to get a nice M car as a trade-in and this one won't last (I got my red M3 below from a trade-in at this dealership -- car didn't even make it to the lot and it was sold -- to me!). Call John B. if you are interested 615-289-0501. He works there and we considered buying the M5 ourselves, but he has decided to hold out for a new M Coupe or 335. :-(<p>
    <table><tr><td><img src="http://www.karenonline.net/images/bmw/99m-small.jpg" width="261" height="220"></td><td><img src="http://mydrive.roadfly.com/photos/pic.php?u=3155N503E&i=3211"></td></tr></table>
    <strong><i>Karen ///M TOPLS</i>
    <a href="http://www.bmwcca.org">BMW CCA</a> and <a href="http://www.zscca.org">ZSCCA</a> Member
    99 M - Palmetto Green/Kyalami Orange
    97 M3 - Hellrot/Black</strong>
    <a href="http://www.karenonline.net">www.KarenOnline.net</a></p>

  9. #9
    Spizzi
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    How do you define "Complete" ?

    I found a 2002 M5 with 45K miles for an outstanding price at a non-BMW dealer (think Toyota).

    Can I go to BMW (I am currently an owner of a 540i) and ask them to give me the complete history? For a price?

    Any other thoughts? advice?

  10. #10
    Spizzi
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    also, i did a carfax check and...

    it says at around 25K miles the M5 had: "Suspension system serviced" Do I need to be worried about this?

  11. #11
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    that's difficult

    You'd have to visit a friendly BMW dealer and ask them to search their database for the service records. They ought to do this after deleting the prior owner's personal information, but obviously they don't have to help you buy a car through another dealer if they don't want to. And I'm not sure if they can/will retrieve copies of the actual service invoices (with all their details and notes), or just a line-item summary of the work performed.

    This is not an ideal purchase situation. Be cautious, and don't be over-eager based on what you perceive to be a bargain price.

    If you'd be interested in a solid, 2-owner '01 Le Mans blue with 44k miles, Dinan suspension, Tubi exhaust and BBS RGR wheels (my old car that I recently traded in), I'll let you know which dealer has it. I think it's still available.

    '07 335i (on order)
    '01 M5 (recently retired)
    '90 M3 (D/Mod track/race car)

  12. #12
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    Re: E39 M5 questions

    Hey Yo,

    Go to: www.m5board.com they will tel you all you need to know.

  13. #13
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    ATF in the trans.

    Can someone please tell me a lot more about ATF in the trans. Or can you direct me to a site that talks about it please.

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