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Thread: New BMW owner on a lark

                  
   
  1. #1
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    New BMW owner on a lark

    As of this weekend, I'm a new BMW owner for the first time (I've owned a bunch of cars over the years, but I had a 1993 Mazda Miata LE for 18-19 years as my sole car until this year).

    Funny story, I went to the Capital Auto Auction to bid on another car. But one of the first cars up for auction was a 2000 BMW 528i with 200k miles. Several people bid on it, but when they closed the bidding it turns out the highest bidder got disqualified: they had announced beforehand that they had switched to a new electronic bidding system on the back end and that anyone bidding had to register (for free) first and get a bidding number. That guy didn't do that, so they went to the next highest bidder. Same problem. The auctioneer was pissed. Gave a long tirade, "I don't care if you've been coming here 22 years, we're doing it differently now, we've gone electric, and you have to register if you're going to bid..."

    Turns out every bidder on the BMW had failed to register. They drove the car off, and announced it was unsold. So I raised my hand (with my sticker showing my bidding number that showed I had registered) and offered $350 for the car (which was the opening bid). The auctioneer's assistant saw and heard me, told the auctioneer, who announced it sold for $350 (while starring daggers at me). Then he reiterated that everyone had to register before bidding.

    They had announced it needs an alternator (but it was running) as the only known problem (beyond some paint scratches, etc, and the interior is a bit worn and dirty). I won't be able to pick up the car until tomorrow. With 200k miles and at least needing a new alternator, I'm not sure what codes it might have or anything, and I'll need to pass emissions to get it registered in DC.

    I hope to make the social on Thursday and the DIY day on Saturday, at least to meet some people and get some tips. BMW and Mazda engines seem quite different! I don't know if I'll get any service records or anything yet. I do have an OBD reader (but I haven't been able to check it yet).

    Aside from the alternator and belts, and whatever the codes might tell me, what all should be done? Oil and oil filter. Fuel and air filters. Spark plugs. Check all of the lights and other visual inspection. Check other fluids. I read I should clean out carbon channels, but I have no idea how to do that yet. Down the road maybe O2 sensors? Brake pads, hoses, etc. too.

    It's an automatic. Ugh. Maybe open to a trade. I've never owned one before. And I live on a little alley street on the Hill, the kind where is one doesn't fold in their sideview mirror the whole street is blocked. The Miata was easy to park! This one will be a comparative boat.

    Can't wait to get the car, get started and meet everyone!

  2. #2
    Senior Member John in VA's Avatar
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    Welcome!
    All service items you mentioned would be good to perform. And brakes are nice to have!
    The plastic cooling system is something that requires attention. Expansion tank, upper & lower hoses, temp & level sensors, auto tranny coolant temp sensor, fan blade - all will be something to consider especially without service records. Get the dealer-provided expansion tank - this is not the place to save a few $$. Then there is the "Should I change A/T fluid?" conundrum.

    Bimmerforums & Bimmerfest both have good E39 forums:
    http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/fo...996-2003-(E39)
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=103
    Last edited by John in VA; 09-05-2016 at 12:13 PM.
    John in VA

    '74 2002tii
    '85 535i
    '86 535i
    '00 328i
    '02 325xi
    '03 530i
    '06 330ci ZHP
    '13 328i xDrive

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by John in VA View Post
    All service items you mentioned would be good to perform. And brakes are nice to have!
    The plastic cooling system is something that requires attention. Expansion tank, upper & lower hoses, temp & level sensors, auto tranny coolant temp sensor, fan blade - all will be something to consider especially without service records. Get the dealer-provided expansion tank - this is not the place to save a few $$. Then there is the "Should I change A/T fluid?" conundrum.

    Bimmerforums & Bimmerfest both have good E39 forums:
    http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/fo...996-2003-(E39)
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=103
    Thanks, John!
    When rummaging through the car (I finally picked it up--looks good on the outside but will require attention), I found a receipt for brakes from May of 2013 so that helps. I'll add the rest to the (bottom of the) list. And yeah, already planning on changing the transmission fluid.

  4. #4
    As far as I know, any service performed at an authorized BMW dealership is recorded in BMW North America's database. This may even be true of service performed at authorized independent shops. It's worth asking a dealer to check BMW's service records for you; this may or may not tell you very much depending on where the car was serviced but every little bit helps. (Also, as far as I know, a dealer can get a lot more info out of BMW NA than you can get by just calling them and asking.)

    Any good shop should be willing to do a used-car inspection and write up a report on everything they find. You want a BMW-authorized shop (or a BMW dealer) so they'll know about particular issues with BMWs. Usually people do this with a car they're thinking of buying; even if you already own the car this is money well spent. My dealer called this a "turnover inspection" and it was very thorough. Even if this gives you some unpleasant surprises, this is a better place to get them than somewhere at night by the side of the road.

    Heck, if you plan to go to the DIY event in Annapolis this Saturday, maybe you could schedule such an inspection for the same day. We'll all help the mechanic...

  5. #5
    Carbon blasting cleans deposit build-up from intake valves, but that's only an issue with direct-injected engines. I don't think your 2000 528i has direct injection, so you probably won't need to carbon-blast.

  6. #6
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    Great idea, about the BWM dealer, thanks! I should have thought of that!

    Yes, I do plan on going to the DIY event in Annapolis on Saturday--hopefully with the BMW if I can get it running by then! I didn't own the car soon enough to register in time, but yeah, I plan on lurking at least.
    Last edited by BradleyinDC; 09-08-2016 at 03:10 PM.

  7. #7
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    Good to know about the direct injection! Thanks!
    Last edited by BradleyinDC; 09-08-2016 at 03:09 PM.

  8. #8
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    I called the BMW dealer closest to me in MD. She said she didn't have any records but there was one service done by BMW in Silver Spring and nine done at the BMW New York (Bayside, Douglaston, NY 718-229-4400). I called Bayside, but they would not release any information to me as policy. Completely unhelpful. Anyone know anyone at BMW in Bayside or have any other suggestions? I'm not trying anything nefarious with the previous owner or anything...

  9. #9
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    BMW Silver Spring was more helpful (301-890-3000)
    They replaced a low beam halogen, fog and brake light 2003
    But anything else has been purged already

  10. #10
    Senior Member John in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyinDC View Post
    I... but they would not release any information to me as policy. Completely unhelpful.
    I ran into a similar "policy" when I was considering buying my brother-in-law's E39. He was able to smooth things over with the dealer in Atlanta that did most of his work (phone call, proof of ownership) & they were then able to share the service records with me.
    John in VA

    '74 2002tii
    '85 535i
    '86 535i
    '00 328i
    '02 325xi
    '03 530i
    '06 330ci ZHP
    '13 328i xDrive

  11. #11
    Sounds like a great deal you got. Any chance you can post some pics once everything is all ironed out?

  12. #12
    At the risk of sounding like an animal in a commercial, have you checked the CARFAX? I found a fair amount of information in mine.

    As for Saturday's DIY, people HAVE been known to cancel at the last minute, or just not show up... Get there on time with what you need for a quick job or two and they may be able to accommodate you... Stranger things have probably happened...

    As for the carbon blasting, I suppose with 200,000 miles you might have more carbon buildup than a couple of cans of [insert favorite thing to pour in gas tanks] would take care of, but it's the direct-injected engines that need this regularly. I found a site that says BMW recommends "Walnut shell blasting" every 30,000 miles for direct-injected 135i/335i/535i engines.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyinDC View Post
    I called Bayside, but they would not release any information to me as policy. Completely unhelpful.
    I bought my 2011 E91 xDrive used from a non-BMW dealer. When I called BMW NA, and then went to my local BMW dealer, I found that BMW NA still listed my car under a previous owner's name. I suspect Bayside's actual policy is not to release any information to anyone they haven't verified to be the real owner, which is (unfortunately) a reasonable policy nowadays. Show paperwork that conclusively proves the car is YOUR car now (registration? title? bill of sale?), and I'm sure they'll become much more helpful.

  14. #14
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    Pics from the original auction site

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  15. #15
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    The rest of the pics

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