Needs lots of work... worth keeping?

Asked by Dec 27, 2007 at 12:42 AM about the 1991 BMW 5 Series 535i

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Bmw specialist mechanic says it needs thrust arms, bushings, lower control arms, front end brakes including calipers, and it has a coolant leak into the oil. But only 1 cup of water every 2 months. It has used this much water since I bought it 3 years ago and it runs beautifully. Known issue with head gasket on this model. Should I dump it or buy an E46? I love this car, it drives like no other I have owned. Best stopping distance of any production sedan in it's year. 50/50 weight distribution. But to fix all would cost over 3K. The body is near perfect, paint has  a deep shine, interior very clean. It's tough when you appreciate the engineering but time's ravages and economic practicalities are arguing from the sidelines.

4 Answers

if you love your car and have the dollars to fix it then go for it ,could run a couple thousand or better,me i would rather fix one up than spend 70 or 80 thousand for a new one .just rember new cars have problems to and more expensive to fix.of course this is only my opinion.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

All depends on your tolerance for expense and your plans for the immediate future of the vehicle. I'm going through some similar things with a 1992 Jeep Cherokee sport with 181k miles. Rather than put the money into it (since it is only worth $300-500), I am going to drive it, fix what goes wrong, but nothing more than that. You might also try taking it to another mechanic. Often the "specialists" give you a laundry list of everything that "should" be replaced by mileage or is slightly out of spec. As long as there are no immediate safety problems, you may not need the thrust arms, etc. The two issues you should address are the front brakes and the head gasket leak. As little as a teaspoonful of coolant in the oil can cause bearing and cylinder scratching, etc. If you like it, prioritize, have a less expensive mechanic do the work, etc. If you need it as primary transportation or are considering trading or selling it, don't spend the money -- My Jeep will only be worth $300 no matter how many new parts I put in. I fixed the oil leaks, gave it a tune-up, new headlights, and am stopping it at that until something breaks that causes it not to run or pass inspection.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I'de say keep it...... i actually own this very same car. bought it with 150,000 miles on it,and it needed a starter,driveshaft,hoses,alternater,brakes,and a minor yet growing clearcoat issue on the trunk deck. I spent well over 4000 $ on her in the 2 years I've owned it. (Feb 06) fixed every immediate problem,and she runs fine now @ 178,000 miles. All I have to do now is fix a minor duck gasket leak. then get the hail dammage out for 550$. freakin Oklahoma hail storm last april! maybe get the A/C fixed too. But these cars will run forever....especially the 535i that 3.4 liter engine could withstand a sniper bullet. good luck hope ya keep it.


Thinking with your head , it sounds like you will have more in the car than it can ever be worth. Don' t keep. Thinking with the heart , if sentiment is a factor, and the rest of the car is in wonderful shape, virtually you are looking to spend a great deal to save a friend. Keep it .

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