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Old 12-08-2014, 08:07 PM   #1
couch
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Guelph
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Question What can cause e39 front camber issues?

First forum post, haven't joined the BMW owners club yet but I am determined to in the very near future. Looking for a little help/advice from the forum to help get me there .

I've been looking at a few e39 540i's and came across one that looks to be in pretty good shape, however the ad says: "...I will tell you what needs to be changed which is the reason in the first place for me to sell it. Traction control fuse needs to be changed and front camber also, that's what mechanic said today."


Somewhat suspicious because
1. why would you sell your car just because it needs a fuse and an alignment?
2. from my digging through forum posts, you can't even adjust front camber on the e39?

So I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas about what kind of worn out or damaged components could cause the front camber to be out of alignment, who's repair cost would be high enough to justify just selling the car instead of dealing with it. I would be having the car inspected by a mechanic before committing to buying regardless, but I would like to have at least a rough idea of some stuff to look out for when I go take it for a test drive.

I can post the link to the ad if it helps, just didn't want my first forum post to be linked to an ad, and end up being accused of posting just to promote a listing
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:13 PM   #2
TSI
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Welcome! Good choice of car to look at, if I do say so myself...

I'll be upfront, that seems very sketchy. A simple fuse replacement shouldn't be listed as an issue, it should be fixed. I very much doubt that would be the end of it--expect computer problems at least, if not failed sensors (= $$$ to fix).

Front camber can be affected by many things, first of which is of course poor alignment. Chances are, it's related to the suspension components being worn out/damaged. Specifically, the thrust arm bushings and shock mountings (both common E39 naggles).

I would be wary of such a car, and, more to the point, such as seller. But then again, it may be a time-strapped person in need of quick cash. Only one way to find out!

Posting the ad would be helpful, but you're on the right track to go with a PPI. Any of our forum sponsors can help, or my friend Martin at Albert's Auto on Erin Mills.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:22 PM   #3
couch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSI View Post
I would be wary of such a car, and, more to the point, such as seller. But then again, it may be a time-strapped person in need of quick cash. Only one way to find out!
That's sort of what I was thinking, they're either someone who knows very well what's going on and are deliberately trying to be sneaky about it, or they could be someone who just isn't much of a "backyard mechanic", and has finally gotten fed up with getting nickel and dimed to death at the dealer over these kind of small maintenance issues that are common (so I'm told) with older BMWs. Maybe they opted for a newer car that still has warranty

Here's the ad, not too fussed that you can't see much of the exterior because of the snow, but not a huge deal because I'll be able to see any sort of exterior defects pretty easily when I go take a look at it in person.

Thanks for the tip about the forum sponsors, I'll definitely be sure to have a look through there to find someone close to me.

What's a decent price to offer for a good condition 540i anyways? Asking price seems to vary quite a bit even between cars with similar mileage and upkeep, ranging anywhere between $4000 and $7000.

Last edited by couch; 12-08-2014 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:04 PM   #4
T.Dot_E30
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It's possible something is bent, but hopefully it's just the bushings or a bad control arm.

Either way you should have a PPI done or at very least checked over by someone you trust.

The fuse issue sounds like it can be more serious also, there could be an electrical problem causing a short.

Price will depend on year mileage and options as well as condition and service records. But 4-7k sounds about right for a range. You find some high mileage ones early models for cheaper but you should probably stay away from them unless you are handy.
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:31 PM   #5
couch
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Dot_E30 View Post
The fuse issue sounds like it can be more serious also, there could be an electrical problem causing a short
Looked up the fuse diagram and the ASC fuses are shared with the fuel pump and of course the ABS. ABS module failure seems like a common issue with these cars, could this also cause ABS fuses to blow? Most of the threads I read about ABS module failure seemed to only talk about the dashboard warning lights as symptoms.

I'm a little bit ignorant when it comes to automotive electrical stuff, but do these fuses ever just blow or fail "naturally"? Or are blown fuses pretty much always a symptom of a larger electrical issue?

I suppose I could always just pick up the appropriate replacement fuses and see if the owner will let me pop them in before the test drive, then check to see if they've blown again afterwards. Not fool proof, but for the cost of three fuses it could be worth a shot.
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