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E39 530d Touring £1500, wud konsider roffle

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I suppose this isn't strictly shite, but it's certainly old now, so here goes..


At the moment I have a company car as a daily (passat if you're wondering). However that'll be going back at the end of July as I plan on telling my employer of the last 11 years where they can stick their job before it sucks every bit of life left out of me and I'm going back to uni for a complete career change (there is a reason why kids never dream of being an Area Manager; it's fucking shit and I CANNOT WAIT to throw that work phone into the sea).


Anyway I've been keeping an eye out for something as a daily. Went and viewed a bug-eye Impreza WRX Wagon which was in really good nick but for the rear arches starting to fizz away merrily and briefly considered a B5 Audi S4 avant. However after contemplating that I won't really have a proper job for 2 years I thought a 20 year old 2.7 twin turbo with 140k miles on its original turbos might be a bit of a daft move.


Then came across this on an ebay auction. 2001 530d Touring SE Auto, 90k, 2 owners, looked straight enough in the pics, it was ony about an hour away and the seller could string a sentence together so I took a punt. Picked it up on Thursday after a bit of too-ing and fro-ing with the seller wanting a deposit and for it to be collected within a couple of days despite saying none of this in the ad. In his defense, it had already 'sold' once, so was probably just trying to avoid another messer and took it a bit far. Anyways, it turned out to be a really nice car. There's barely a mark on it to be honest and it certainly doesn't look 17 years old. It's got full history, 12 months MOT, 5 matching tyes (albeit Aptany - me neither!!) and had a recon turbo 2 years ago. Drives lovely. Here it is after a quick polish, apologies for the rubbish pics








Issues I've found so far:


There's a small rust bleb at the end of each sill so the arch liners need to come off and the crap cleaned out & treat them

It's due a service

It needs front disks

The previous owner replaced the springs that raise the tailgate and damaged all the trim around the rear windscreen so it's rattling about

Interior needs a good clean and the leather is a bit worn in places

There's a burn mark in the driver's seat where the heating element went rogue so it's been disconnected

Driver's door seal is ripped

There's a slight vibration that feels like the transmission/prop when you come off the power but I can't work out if that's just what it's like or if it's something worn


So nice little list to work through when I'm off. It goes bloody well for what it is as well. If it proves reliable I might think about a remap.

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That does look lovely! Very well preserved unlike a fair few these days. Does the auto have the dreaded swirl flaps on these? My mechanically similar e46 did but the P.O. Had them binned. Respekp

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Very nice, you've definitely gone for the right car (totally not biased).


The reconditioned turbo is excellent news, however there are other potential troublemakers you should act on asap:


Gearbox service if it hasnt been done yet, the auto gearboxes are the biggest weak point of any E39 if neglected, which is almost always the case


Swirlflaps in automatic 520d-530d like yours. Eventually they fall apart, if you are unlucky debris will enter the combustion chamber and destroy your engine. There are 6 of them under the intake.


Also keep an eye in the injectors, they will fail eventually and are not cheap to replace.


Also check if your Touring came with automatic load leveling in the back, the airbags start leaking on most right around now.


Something thats not 530d specific: Wiggle the back of the headlight connectors to see if the internal headlight adjusters are broken. They are a bit of a pain to replace but cheap.


HOWEVER, anything else should be fairly cheap to replace. Something I always like to recommend, make sure to join the UK E39 community and marketplace on facebook. You wont find quicker help and cheaper parts anywhere else.


Also, if you give us the last 7 digits of your vin, we can tell you the build date, paint codes and all factory options. Very important information. The electronic parts catalog is here, invaluable when owning any BMW:



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Aye it had the swirl flaps but they've already been binned.


I'm presuming it does have the air suspension at the back but I've not actually checked.


I did mean to but gearbox fluid change on this list, there's no evidence it's ever been done and the previous owner hadn't done it as I asked him.


I shall investigate the fb group

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I've been dailying this for about 6 weeks now and I'm liking its wafty nature. That engine is really well suited to an autobox as it always seems to be right in its torque band. I've been used to 50mpg from the works car so 29mpg average has been a bit of a difference but I don't think that's too bad for what it is, it's a heavy old lump after all.


Finally managed to do a bit on it the other day. First on the list were the brakes as they were pretty shit tbh. A quick scan of the discs and they had a big wear lip so ordered some discs & pads from ECP when they had a 50% off promotion (yeh I know...every other week). They were worse than I thought when I got them off.






That went pretty smoothly, the retaining screws didn't put up too much of a fight and I made sure I replaced them both anyway. Put some Pagid discs & pads on as replacements.




Fuck's sake, that didn't look blurry at the time :-D. The pedal feels much better now that they've bedded in a bit so I'm pleased with that. This was the first time I've been able to have a proper poke around and it's looks like it's been well cared for which is good and it's good underneath. The ends of the sills are getting a bit scabby now so I'll get those sanded back and treated before they get worse.




I did peel the arch liner back expecting that to be full of mud but it was pretty clear really.


Next on the list I've got the oil & filter to do and I've ordered the kit to change the ATF so I'll try and crack on with that next week.


I'm a bit worried that itis about to shit an injector though as every now and again when it's first started it runs a bit rough like it has a slight misfire. It clears once it warms up a little but I might run some injector cleaner through it and hope.

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I like that a lot. I sold my dad an '03 540i Sport saloon when I was working at BMW twelve years ago, and he still has it and loves it. It'll join my fleet one day, but he's just fitted a tow bar (oh deary me) to suit his burgeoning interest in caravanning (oh deary me), and will thus be hanging onto it for a while yet.

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Got some more done today


First up was an oil & filter change. This ended up just being an oil change as the largest socket I had was 34mm and the oil filter housing is 36mm. Arses! So I've got one coming from t'internet. Went smoothly other than that. Takes a lot of oil perhaps unsurprisingly; about 7.5l!


I decided to change the crankcase breather as I figured it would be quite likely to have been missed in the past so that meant taking the engine covers off and the intake trunking & air filter.



Why's my airfilter wearing a jacket? Are they meant to be like that? I could only assume it's for noise surpression or something so I took it off. No nuns or kittens have died yet but can anyone enlighten me as to why it's there?




Anyway, the breather filter lives under there and you get a new filter and seals in the kit




The old one wasn't actually that bad, but it's done now anyway.




I'd also ordered up a kit to change the ATF & filter. You get a new filter, sump gasket, drain plug, magnet for the sump, sump bolts and the fluid obvs. I was slightly shitting myself about this but it didn't look that hard so decided to have a go. I got the front end on ramps and the rear on axle stands by jacking the diff to get it level and make some clearance room. This still didn't really give much clearance so it meant sliding in/out on my back all day which wasn't very comfortable but hey ho. It's still got all its undertrays so the rear one had to come off and every fixing came undone - first time thats ever happened to me!




Anyways, it drained out ok (it was very dark) and I managed to get the sump off. As you can see the bottom of the sump was nice and clean and the magnet wasn't too sludged up. That left this scary scene




The fluid actually looks ok there. The light must have been shining through it as it was much much darker than that. I don't think it had ever been changed before as the filter and the sump gasket has GM logos on them (it's a GM box). BMW say it's sealed for life but learned wisdom says otherwise! I got the filter swapped and then the trickiest part of the whole job was getting the sump back on & keeping the new gasket lined up with what very little clearance I had. After much swearing I ended up using the jack to help. Then I made sure I tightened down the eleventy million 10mm bolts in the right order so it could be refilled. Refilling is a bit of a faff. I'd bought a big syringe thing for the job as the filler plug is just higher up on the side of the box.




Check out my massive pump yo!! That did make it easier but it means drawing fluid/filling the box around half a litre at a time and I still managed to get it everywhere. You get so much in before it starts to run out of the fill plug. At that point you need to go start the car and run it through each gear, leave it running then go back and fill again until it runs out the fill plug at which point it's full. I got about 4.25 litres in.


I know that a lot of fluid is still left in the torque converter but I'm sure it'll do some good. It does seem to change a but smoother now but it was never bad to start with.


I may treat it to a remap now. Well, when I have some money!

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Right, I'm gonna be moving this on as I'm a poor student now and 26mpg is a bit much (it's actually good on fuel on a run but my commute to uni is stop/start all the way and it kills it). It's been replaced with an Alfa 147 Ducati Corse.


The bastard exhaust has split at the front flexi joint and now keeps rattling against the floorpan on idle. Do you reckon I'll be able to bodge this a bit with exhaust bandage & paste to try and stop it rattling or is this futile on a flexi? I do plan on pointing out the issue it's just it really does sound awful when you start it and it's like a skeleton wanking in a biscuit tin.

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To be honest I wasn’t going to do an ad on here as it won’t be shite money; I paid £2100, and I’ve probably spent about £400 on various bits.


If someone on here wants it £1850. I’m in Lowton near Warrington. If there’s sufficient interest I’ll do a proper write up.


I tried adjusting the exhaust bracket before to move the pipe a bit further inwards....


Result, no more rattle!!...for about 5 mins until it started again. Fuck’s sake

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Because it’s sat in traffic for over an hour every morning. I literally only get above 30mph about 3 times, in normal traffic the journey takes around 35 mins but at rush hour it’s an hour & 15. It’s about the worst combination possible for a large engine & autobox.


I drove it down to Leicester & back the other day, it managed 40mpg then & I wasn’t hanging about. If it did that all the time I’d keep it.

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Because it’s sat in traffic for over an hour every morning. I literally only get above 30mph about 3 times, in normal traffic the journey takes around 35 mins but at rush hour it’s an hour & 15. It’s about the worst combination possible for a large engine & autobox.


I drove it down to Leicester & back the other day, it managed 40mpg then & I wasn’t hanging about. If it did that all the time I’d keep it.


Sounds like a hellish commute that'd definitely get your mpg down, reckon you'd be better of with a little pez motor. Yours would probably sell pretty easily on the e39 facebook page.

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I have a high mile 1999 manual 530d touring that does about a genuine 38mpg general trolling about and about 45mpg on a run though the dash Lie-O-Meter has it about 8mpg higher than reality.  It may have been chipped at some point as it's much stronger and smokier than our recently departed saloon version. 

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Right, this fucker is proving a difficult sell. I originally attempted an ebay auction and managed to get into an argument with a mouth breather who was extremely offended that I refused to tell him what the reserve was. He then bid on it and didn't pay (it made £1750). So I relisted it without a reserve. He then used presumably his girlfriend's account to bid at the last minute and didn't pay (both accounts have the same address). I second chance offered it that time which was not accepted.


It's on gumtree, autotrader, ebay classified and faceache at £1850. No one has actually viewed the car despite several enquiries and I'm getting bored of it. The main details are above but to recap, it's done 93k, looks to have been garaged much of its life, 5 matching tyres, 10 stamps in the book, it's had a recon turbo, swirl flaps deleted, I've done the ATF and filter and new front discs & pads. Oh, and I've managed to at least stop the exhuast rattling by forcing some old rubber hose between the exhaust and the body.


£1500 anyone? Would consider a raffle but might be a bit pricey at £25 a ticket? Some more pics below. It really is a clean old bus.



























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Stick it on an Ebay classifieds mate. I’m done with Ebay auctions for selling cars unless its something weird and wonderful. The weeks I used to lose selling cars in an Ebay auction. Got to the point where I would ask for a £100 non refundable deposit as it was costing me time and I just needed these cars gone. Then I used to get people messaging me lecturing me on how Ebay is formed on trust between buyer and seller.....I responded with something along the lines of WAKE UP! 90% of buyers are timewasters on there and only use the winning price (often already way below what I’d expect to get for it) as a starting price to haggle! Can’t be doing with it anymore.


I always thought that if Ebay asked for a scan of your passport and a £100 or something deposit in a holding account before you were allowed to bid how many timewasters you’d get then.....probably nowhere near as many as you get now as its just too easy....

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