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1985 BMW E28 520i - Going to be for sale for sure (I think)


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MOT day today. This trip was giving my anxiety a proper kick. What if it broke down on the way? What if recovery wouldn't take me because of that? What if it overheated? Etc.

Anyway arrived.
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Temps were just starting to creep up in traffic. Either vicious fan isn't helping too much or just because the gauge is old fashioned and moves about more.

Brake lights appear stuck on constantly though. Told the garage, so I'll let them fix that.
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Then trotted off to work. Saw these on the way and decided to give them a spin.
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Great fun! Also the teeny wheels on potted and rough Bristol tarmac is rather disconcerting at the same time. What I didn't realise, despite seeing kids buzzing around on these, you need to be over 18 and have a driving licence. When making an account you need to take a picture of your driving licence too.

They don't have a huge amount of power. Noticed they slow up quite a bit on the hills. I imagine that despite them being 250w motors, I reckon they further limit the power to conserve battery life. There are no charge points, so they must collect them once the batteries are all used up.

Got to work and then used my mobile phone to enter the building on the offices new card readers, instead of using an access card. After being in a village and small towns for the last year or so, I'm having a bit of technology overload.

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  • SiC changed the title to 1985 BMW E28 520i - Arrived and waiting for its MOT

Forgot to also say that the Speedo works fine now thankfully. 

Drive was ok. Bit more upright than I was expecting but that's not something that makes me dislike it. Steering wheel isn't straight and it does wander a bit. Not helped by old tyres (I've got better ones on alloys to go on) but also probably needs wheel realignment doing. 

What I really do not like and I've realised why I dislike this car everytime I sit in it (despite loving the look of them), is the smell inside. It's been a smokers car previously and I'm sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke at best of times. This is made worse with the mix of fustyness too. Even though I've run the ozone generator to try neutralising the smell, it's come back from no doubt being in the headlining and soft fabrics. I know some people love that smell but for me it's pungent enough to make me feel queasy. 

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  • SiC changed the title to 1985 BMW E28 520i - The MOT results are in...

Not strictly a clean pass actually as it failed on the brake switch. Spoke to the garage and they adjusted it, which led to the pass. 

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17 minutes ago, wuvvum said:

Nice work!

I have a car in for MOT at the moment, I have a feeling mine will have more writing on it than yours...

As DVSA is based in Bristol, the garage I use does things pretty much bang by the book. This is a good thing and a bad thing!

I've had a conversation with them about that they don't often put advisories on. They were told by a DVSA inspector that they rather garages didn't as they don't want people taking it as an inspection service, rather than the minimum legal road worthy requirements. 

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Drove it about on the way back and also put 20l more of fresh fuel in. I'll concede that it drive very nice. The suspension is refreshingly soft and the engine is rev happy. I've got a gasket in now, so tomorrow once it's stone cold I'll get those tappets set. 

Got some coolant system flush too, but I'm a bit apprehensive about putting that in as it might end up causing more leaks. Especially don't want one in the cabin heater matrix. Cooling system seems perfectly fine now too, even if the heater isn't super hot. The coolant temperature in rush hour stop+start Bristol traffic went slightly above middle but never higher than that. I think that's normal as when I used the IR gun last time, the pipes were at around 90c. If it kept climbing I'd be concerned but I'm putting it down to normal behaviour. 

Steering does have a bit of play in it, but previous MOT advisories did mention that. Also the tracking needs doing really. With the alloys on and their newer tyres, it'll probably ride even better. 

I need to give it a good scrub and take some photos ready for an advert. I'll probably run around in it for a bit too now it's ready to go. 

Need to figure a price and I really have no idea. Prices have risen a fair bit but I don't want to price too high as I'd like a quick sale. But then it's no minter, so I can't expect too much. Rare manual though which should help give interest to it. 

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Fantastic news! :)
Shame about the smell because these usually have a very pleasant '70's German car' fragrance inside due to the materials used in the insulation materials and the horsehair in the seats in particular.

Looking forward to more updates and hopefully reading about how you're starting to bond with it.  I found mine  a slow burn relationship, it's a very capable car with very few foibles to single it out but after a year or so I loved it.

The steering free play might be fixable by adjusting the big locknut on the box.

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53 minutes ago, Spiny Norman said:

Shame about the smell because these usually have a very pleasant '70's German car' fragrance inside due to the materials used in the insulation materials and the horsehair in the seats in particular.

Smell isn't noticeable with the windows open thankfully. I'm sure some will love the smell - like a old person front room as Steve said to me. I thought I could live with it and I ignored it, but it's unconsciously makes me not like the car. 

53 minutes ago, Spiny Norman said:

Looking forward to more updates and hopefully reading about how you're starting to bond with it.  I found mine  a slow burn relationship, it's a very capable car with very few foibles to single it out but after a year or so I loved it.

I really don't think it's the car for me. If you're a tall person that wants to be comfortable, who also loves a cushy smooth ride and want an engine that loves to be revved, then step right this way.

For me, I get my fun being thrown down the road, feeling every bump and lump while sitting inches from the tarmac lobbing it into a corner throwing everything to the other side of the car. Cushy comfy cars for me are too practical to be fun toys. This is fulfilled for me by the modern long distance cruisers - i.e. our A4. 

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26 minutes ago, Spiny Norman said:

The steering free play might be fixable by adjusting the big locknut on the box.

Useful to know, I might give it a go!

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I remember our 518 stank of curry inside. And I mean, stank of it. Like a curry powder shop. We changed the whole interior apart from carpets and headlining and the smell was still there but not as bad. I think you need to start deep cleaning everything and invest in one of those George wet vac hoover things. And some fabreeze. 

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18 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

Good news on the pass, shame you aren't bonding with it 100%. Hopefully it will all work out!

Doesn't help I'm impulsive then becoming a picky bugger! I also enjoy working on them just as much driving. So it's not the end of the world that I haven't bonded with it. 

So another car ticked off the bucket list, more skills learnt (L-Jetronic especially) and another car saved for others to enjoy, rather than stripped for parts. Hopefully the next owner will take good care of it and not screw around too much as it's a "cheap classic BMW".

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2 hours ago, SiC said:

For me, I get my fun being thrown down the road, feeling every bump and lump while sitting inches from the tarmac lobbing it into a corner throwing everything to the other side of the car. Cushy comfy cars for me are too practical to be fun toys.

This really surprised me with you not gelling with your Clio 172. Almost sounds like the perfect description of a 172/182.

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2 minutes ago, bigfella2 said:

This really surprised me with you not gelling with your Clio 172. Almost sounds like the perfect description of a 172/182.

I'm...

6 minutes ago, SiC said:

Doesn't help I'm impulsive then becoming a picky bugger!

...and get bored easily!

It's why I have to have several/many cheaper cars than one really nice one. I'd get bored too quickly and then sell it. 

Whereas I'm loving the Boxster again at the moment, but I know I'll get bored at some point. Then I'll move to the MGB. Maybe back to the Boxster. Winter will hit and then I'll reawaken the Clio from its slumber. I'll probably enjoy it again then.

For now it's resting... 🤫

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I forgot to post this. Seems quite high for me, but then I don't know what is normal for these engines. In the history there is a time where the CO got to 4.3%!

But a pass is a pass. 


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This is where the temperature needle sits when sat stationary in traffic. I think this is fairly normal position? I don't know how these gauges operate and if they have a middle dead zone like so many modern cars. Doesn't get higher than this, so I'm not concerned there is anything wrong here.

Odo is showing 34 miles completed. Reassuring both the Speedo and odometer works now the cluster PCB was fixed.
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Well done on the pass. It's got to be worth a fair bit with a years MOT.  It's a 6 cylinder, manual,  it's very original and it's not hanging with rust, which is pretty much what everyone looking for an E28 is looking for.

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15 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

Have to agree thats got to be worth a bit of wodge  with the years MOT and being original and honest. I would have thought that's exactly what people are looking for.

I'm not particularly bothered about making a big profit, but getting my money back would be good. However anything more than that goes directly into next car buying pot...

It's not immaculate but hopefully it being a rare manual will help. Also the important jobs that people shy away from are done - like the cambelt/water pump/dash/etc. 

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1 hour ago, SiC said:

This is where the temperature needle sits when sat stationary in traffic. I think this is fairly normal position? I don't know how these gauges operate and if they have a middle dead zone like so many modern cars. Doesn't get higher than this, so I'm not concerned there is anything wrong here.

Odo is showing 34 miles completed. Reassuring both the Speedo and odometer works now the cluster PCB was fixed.
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From memory my old 535 used to sit about the same, just to the right of the centre. 

I loved that car, it did have a bit more poke than yours though and had been modded a bit-a wee bit lower with upgraded brakes. It drove very well.

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10 hours ago, SiC said:

I'm not particularly bothered about making a big profit, but getting my money back would be good. However anything more than that goes directly into next car buying pot...

It's not immaculate but hopefully it being a rare manual will help. Also the important jobs that people shy away from are done - like the cambelt/water pump/dash/etc. 

I wouldn't sell it short especially when you want to treat it as an accumulator for your next car.  

Not sure what you paid or spent on it but think it's worth £3500 as a relatively easy sale?

This one is 6 grand and okay it looks a bit tidier than your but it's similar mileage/story and it's a less desirable auto.

1987 BMW E28 520i auto For Sale (picture 1 of 6)

https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C1253774

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  • SiC changed the title to 1985 BMW E28 520i - Going to be for sale for sure (I think)

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