this is a question I should have asked a few months ago but its already parked in front of the garage.

The trouble is I purchased a 99 528iT with 85k and experienced quite a few problems already. I did not want to purchase a high mileage example and still most troubles are imho mileage related. I felt that a clean nice car with 85k miles should be a sound car with no troubles and no issues for at least an another 10-20k miles which will be 2+ years for me. I wanted a car that I can drive now and just do the normal maintenance to keep it alive and after a year or two I will start changing more serious things on it. It seems that I need to get into this car deep before I can drive it too much.

1. most annoying - the rear subframe bushings. The ride is bouncy and the rear of the car shakes on everything but the smoothest road. I purchased a non-sport specifically as the roads here are not good, I wanted something comfortable for my daily driver. I have 16" rims and toyo all season tires.

2. MAF sensor went, and the whole trans fail safe issue started with it, which in the middle of tracking the issue, due my error turned into a nightmare. Aside from my mistake, the MAF went out at 85k miles. not normal at all.

3. The ABS module is already a repaired/rebuilt unit, apparently it was already fixed, outside of warranty.

4. The front rotors are worn, needs rotors but no pads, as the pads are almost perfect - factory oem. I think the rotors are also original at 85k miles !!! Not a trouble, just this one adds to the tally. Its normal maintenance and PO's fault that he kept putting new pad but no rotor.

5. Vanos - ticking and cold hesitation, once or twice even stalled. Did read the 10 miles long post, learned about the new teflon seals, will order the kit + valve cover gasket. At 85k miles this is non-sense. A Vanos should last much more then 85k miles.

6. Both cupholder - front and rear broken. Read about them, learned about them, pissed about them. SO easy to make it sturdy, yet BMW designed a flimsy little crap. Dumb.

7. Radiator already replaced in the car. Not due to the accident but most likely a trouble with it. BMW radiators has a notoriously bad reputation - most people recommends changing them at every 70-80k miles. Shouldn't they last longer ?
I don't even want to know if the water pump is plastic impeller version or not, I hope PO changed that too.

8. rear suspension sits lower then front and it seems as one side is lower then the other. I think shocks are on the way out. Seems early again but at a 100k miles I would expect them, so I take them as normal repairs.

9. back liftgate brake light broken, cheap plastic housing, almost shattered to pieces. New one is 250usd !!! Once it falls apart beyond repair I will be removing it and installing an aftermarket LED light in place of that crap. Total junk, absolutely faulty design. Feels and looks like a Chinese crap light. It has no place on a BMW.

10. Windshield molding is in horrible shape. Whatever left, as most are already missing. On my Z1 which is from 1990 (prod date 8/89) the modling is still soft and perfectly nice. The E39 is in a sad state, I learned that the glass has to come out to install a new one. So it stay as it is now, if there will be leak. Rear is still oke, but after the front is in this horrible shape, I expect the rear to go soon as well. Have not seen this on any other car ever... specially not after 11 years and 85k miles. OEM windshield, never been changed. It also has a long scratch, so I wait till it gets damaged and then have it replaced SC insurance pays for the windshield repairs.

11. left front door speaker (small one in the door) is making a cracking sound. No big deal, but again so soon ?

12. rear loading tray is making noise while travelling. Might be due to the rear subframe issue but the cracking noises are horrible, the tray moves enough that it makes noise on the road. Loading tray is the most dumbest idea imho, it will sure find its way into my garage and a nice smooth surface will replace it. No wonder BMW dropped this
nuance in the E60 wagon. useless and just asking for trouble.

are these issues are common with the 10+ year old E39's ? If so, what else should I be ready. I'm a shade tree mechanic, I do 99% of my repairs very seldom do I elect to use help.
I have rebuilt rear ends and suspensions, but no engine or transmission internals yet.

I have 2 other BMW's and one has 62 miles the other 51k miles. They both older then the 528iT and none has any issues. Both have been driven regularly but not much I admit.
The 8 is driven on a track at least once a year but I do very careful maintenance and use either OEM or better then OEM fluid/parts.

The E39 interior is a nice place to be. Quality is probably better then the E60 and feels rich and solid. I really hoped the rest of the car will be as good as the interior, but starting to have a little doubt.


1997 BMW 840CiA
1990 BMW Z1
1999 BMW 528iT (Hauler mobile)
2002 Astro Van AWD
2003 Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Package
1987 BMW 535i with 5spd manual (for sale)
1992 BMW 735iL (needs head and interior)
1977 BMW 320i (project racecar)
2007 Mazda CX9 AWD (Wife mobile)
1998 Yamaha Blaster+Breeze

1995 850CSI CD00177 (SOLD)