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View Full Version : Looking at an e34...questions


BMW_M52_M20
07-22-2004, 12:33 PM
I am looking at a 1990 e34 525i with the 2.5L inline 6. I am guessing this is an M20 engine.
What should I be looking for/is there anything specific to the e34 that people have noticed that have gone wrong?

Thanks
Jay

Gamite
07-22-2004, 01:24 PM
Well, the first think you should look at on ALL e34's is the trim below the doors, its ALWAYS the first place to rust, check on the inside of the doors to see if any body work was done.

The other thing that tends to always go are the lower suspension arms. IMO, the M20 isn't quite powerful to push the heavy E34 body. I would recommend you look for at least a 535.

you can check www.bmwe34.net for most of the maintenance issues.

BMW_M52_M20
07-22-2004, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by Gamite
Well, the first think you should look at on ALL e34's is the trim below the doors, its ALWAYS the first place to rust, check on the inside of the doors to see if any body work was done.

The other thing that tends to always go are the lower suspension arms. IMO, the M20 isn't quite powerful to push the heavy E34 body. I would recommend you look for at least a 535.

you can check www.bmwe34.net for most of the maintenance issues.

Thanks Julian.

I guess there is the normal performance mods for the m20 like chip, intake, exhuast, etc. Is it really a dog on power? Can't be worse then my 325e, haha.

What year did the 535i start? 1991? What engine is in that, probably a bigger version of the 2.5L.....
Thanks
Jay

ZiMMie
07-22-2004, 02:32 PM
I belive the 535 e34 r Called m30.

Specs on it
3.5 liter SOHC in-line 6 cylinder - 3430cc
9.0:1 Compression Ratio
208 horsepower @ 5700rpm
225 lb./ft. torque @ 4000rpm
14-17 miles per gallon city / 23-29 highway
89 Octane fuel or better reccommended

And the E34 3.5L's (there are many older variants of it as well) was BMW's longest produced engine.......so the reliablity is pretty damn good.

Gamite
07-22-2004, 03:48 PM
535 started in 89, same as the 525. bulletproof engine. E34's have the latest version of the M30 motor.

Bruno
07-23-2004, 09:34 AM
Well, I have a '89 525i that I am selling and it is not a fast car...
But very good on gas and very reliable.

There is way more than the rust on the door trims to look at when you check an E34.

You need to check:
- subframe mounts (Expensive repair)
- All the ball joints and bushings on the front end
- wheel bearings on the front
- brakes
- timing belt on the M20
- engine overheating problems...
- and all the electrical on the car.

You also need to check that the right fluid had been used during the life of the car.

Try to find a clean 535i if you want power... I just sold mine.

Gamite
07-23-2004, 10:22 AM
you sold it eh? damn..

BMW_M52_M20
07-23-2004, 10:51 AM
Okay, sounds like the M30 engne is the way to go! I am guessing this engine has a timing chain?

Thanks for all the help guys.
Jay

Bruno
07-23-2004, 11:03 AM
Yes it has a chain and the valves need to be adjusted.
They also have major problems with headgasket if the car overheats or if the wrong coolant is used....

But it is fun to work on these cars, email me if you need some help when you locate one.

BMW_M52_M20
07-23-2004, 12:15 PM
Originally posted by Bruno
Yes it has a chain and the valves need to be adjusted.
They also have major problems with headgasket if the car overheats or if the wrong coolant is used....

But it is fun to work on these cars, email me if you need some help when you locate one.

Thanks a lot, I appreciate the help. The coolant issue is notorious with all the BMW's. They highly recommend OEM coolant, I have read problems when people use prestone and such. Should be green coolant in a pre 98 car.

Bruno
07-23-2004, 12:37 PM
Actually I have always bought Blue BMW coolant...

audiophile
07-23-2004, 04:16 PM
If you meander over to the for sale section, I have my 89 525i 5spd for sale for a pretty good price.

85eta
08-17-2004, 11:25 PM
Hey Jay the 91 and up 525i's had the M50. I have driven one with a 5spd, and it felt very strong. Well I guess it's basically a e36 325i plus 400 pounds.

Denis
09-07-2004, 11:35 PM
88-90 m20 powered 525i are cheaper then 535i.
Overheating kills this engine faster then others, so check coolant for sights of oil (should not be brown, should not have any oil stains) and oil for sights of coolant (should not have any bubbles on dip stick, no white traces on internal side of oil cap - check on cold engine). It can leak coolant into cylinders - check for sweet smell at tailpipe once engine is started. Close tailpipe opening with your hand, you will get some moisture from cold started engine. Taste it. If it is sweet - run away from this car. Otherwise it is a water, that is ok.

This car is fast enought for regular roads, just keep it at 4000 rpm and up. Shift at 6000. You will need a standard transmission for it.
No one will like to be your passenger. 16+liters/100km of gas. 9 seconds to 100km/h. :) :)

in 91 525 got m50 engine - this one is way better then older m20.
no belt, no valve adjustments, higher compression, MAF, 4 valves/cylinder, higher output and better gas mileage. On papers car will be shown as 1992-1995 525. Rare to find and expensive.

88-93 535i seems to have the best value. M30 engines are very reliable and last long.

gas mileage of 535 and 525 is the same if you drive it with the same accelleration. But when you want to be a little bit faster you need 535. More gas, 7.9sec to 100km/h. Standard again.

In mine 89 535i on 75%hwy/25%city cycle I am getting 11.5 liters/100km. Neat.

Denis
09-07-2004, 11:43 PM
Where did you get this info? My concern is 89 octane. I just opened another thread re pinging on regular gas. With 9:0 compression we can go on regular (87 octane), can we not?
Here is the thread (http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=40739)

Originally posted by ZiMMie
I belive the 535 e34 r Called m30.

Specs on it
3.5 liter SOHC in-line 6 cylinder - 3430cc
9.0:1 Compression Ratio
208 horsepower @ 5700rpm
225 lb./ft. torque @ 4000rpm
14-17 miles per gallon city / 23-29 highway
89 Octane fuel or better reccommended

And the E34 3.5L's (there are many older variants of it as well) was BMW's longest produced engine.......so the reliablity is pretty damn good.

Gamite
09-09-2004, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by Denis
Where did you get this info? My concern is 89 octane. I just opened another thread re pinging on regular gas. With 9:0 compression we can go on regular (87 octane), can we not?
Here is the thread (http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=40739)

actually, I think it tells you that in the manual.

lvan
09-26-2004, 06:45 PM
ETA may be right about E34 with manual but I think e34 M50 with stick are very rare to find.... Also what about E34 540S? Are they in your mind or they are kinda pricey?