Originally Posted by Max_VQ
The E39 is a high maintenance car!!
Every 100,000 miles you should replace the rad, water pump, thermostat & hoses.
Suspension arms (thrust arms) last 2-3 years. (depending in potholes)
Secondary air issues are common and you will fail e-test.. (the sec air fan is $400 just for the part)
The inline 6s are a little better than the v-8 (they have the same size rad!!)
Power window regulators break often
The crank case vent (like PCV) can freeze in cold weather, filling your intake & cylinder with oil -> bending/breaking the connecting rod. An updated CCV is available.
The final stage of the blower motor often shorts out, leaving you with a dead battery. Again, and updated part is available.
Overall, Don't expect Japanese reliability, BUT you can expect a fun car to drive that does EVERYTHING right!
I agree with some of your comments. However don't expect Japanese reliability! Give me a brake. I have had over 8 BMW's in my life, all of them when sold had over 250,000Km and never had I had any problems at all. The only problems were caused by me.
The 95 M3 cylinder head blew because I made the valve seats to large, pushing 600Hp resulted in a cracked head. My M3 has over 260,000Km the last 200,000km under FI with the same engine, rear end, transmission. The only components I replaced suspension, rad, clutch and starter that's not to bad since I put well over 15,000Km on track days alone. That's an operating cost of 0.0023 cents/km
My 97 540i had over 200,000Km I replaced the rad and my rear window fell, it cost me $5 to fix. My 540i motor was damaged because I screwed up. Operating expense per kilometer for my 540i not including oil, brakes and fluid changes worked out to .00125 cents/ km
The secret of any car is preventive maintenance. This is what I do to make my cars last. Keep in mind I don't baby any of my vehicles.
1) Change all fluids every other year.
2) Rust check your vehicle every year. Make sure they get all of the metal including calipers and shocks.
3) Do not wash your engine before winter, the more dirt on the engine the better protection from salt.
4) Every spring clean your engine so that it can stay cooler in hot summer days.
5) In the winter people wash the body only of their car, wash the underneath don't forget underneath behind the muffler, get the suspension components, wash the rad from a distance.
6) If it's -10 or colder don't wash your car, -10 or warmer wash it if you have to every day.
7) Lubricate every week all of your locks and hinges.
8) Twice a year before changing your oil change add a liter of transmission fluid to your oil. This will clean your engine internally. Do not drive more then 50km with transmission fluid in your engine.
9) Ad Lucas motor oil treatment to your engine trust me it helps on those cold starts.
10) Ad Lucas fuel treatment to every tank.
11) Wax your car twice a year, once before winter and in spring.
12) If your vehicle has a problem fix it right away don't wait. Waiting could stress other components causing premature failure.
13) If you park a car in a heated garage during the winter months make sure it's washed every day. Warm garages and salt will accelerate your problems 10 times faster.
14) Wait 5 min before shutting down your car in hot weather. Give it a chance to cool down. The best way is turn your air on so that you can engage your secondary fan.
15) Most important. It's a car drive the thing. When I see a car for sale and it states "Woman Driven" I wont buy it.