Considering buying a '01 525i Wagon and need advice...

Asked by Apr 30, 2010 at 10:19 PM about the 2001 BMW 5 Series 525i Wagon

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Although the car has 169k miles it seems like a well maintained and solid car and a good deal.
However, on a test drive I could smell burning oil (no visible smoke) and a heard clicking noise
that starts at very slow speeds (<10 mph) and gets faster up to around 25 mph then goes away. Thinking it may be coming from transmission. (not sure) Otherwise it seems to drive and shift well. I would like to know from anyone with experience with these models if this car is a potential keeper or a money pit?

3 Answers

2,175

The bmw 2.5L straight 6 of your vintage is the most popular engine bmw has ever built. All engine parts, whether factory, oem, or remanufactured are readily found and at very reasonable prices. All bmws need to be maintained, but the 2.5L is the least expensive. Having said that, start sourcing for the water pump, thermostat, radiator, alternator, and even the power steering pump as these usually need to be replaced around 150k miles give or take. The most common source of oil leak of this engine is the cam cover seal - oil drips down to the exhaust manifold and burnt oil can be smelled especially when the engine first achieves operating temperature. The clicking noise can be a case of worn valve guide(s) or the more sinister vanos problems, both present minimal challenge to experienced bmw mechanics. Regarding the "Touring" e39 chassis, check for rust around the rear hatch window where rust is most often found. If it is equipped with air suspended rear self-levelling system, the air chambers are only $450 to replace if the rear end starts to sag. Also make sure you are not offended by the more "truck like" ride of the wagon as the aforementioned rear suspension setup tends to be far less supple than that of the sedan's. A small price to pay, really, for one of the most exclusive bmw.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

have a 2001 525i and it is the best car i've ever owned...have considered buying newer car hundreds of times and decide that i really don't want to get rid of this one. this is the longest i've ever driven the same car. consumer reports rates almost every model of bmw as "recommended" if not "best in class" from 1998- 2001. bmw models drastically declined after 2002 in every single category. finally, in 2011, bmw 300 series made consumer reports approval....(owned a 1999 328 before buying my present car, and loved it,,,but wanted something a little bit bigger) if the 500 series can improve this year like the 300's did in 2011, i may be buying that new car after all...

3,335

I have my 2001 e39 Sportwagen and absolutely love it! I have just at 100K on the odometer. The self leveling suspension is an EASY fix. I did mine for less than $350 in about 1.0 hour. The burnt oil could be from a leaky power steering reservoir as well. As for the clicking, the '01 model has a double vanos, rather than the single that it replaced, like Vince mentioned. I would double check the water pump and the belt tensioner pulleys. They have a bad habit of making that dreaded noise before dying. The rubber and plastic pieces dry out and become brittle in warmer climates, like here in Florida. Black Magic Tire Shine is a silicon life saver get it and don't stop using it on everything ABS, rubber and the like. By the way, I turn all of my own wrenches and this is my fifth Bimmer.

Your Answer

5 Series

Looking for a Used 5 Series in your area?

CarGurus has 16,368 nationwide 5 Series listings starting at $1,995.

ZIP:
Get More Money for Your Car
Be seen by 20 million shoppers. Create Your Free Listing

BMW 5 Series Experts

  • #1
    Tom Demyan
    Reputation
    2,110
  • #2
    Michael Branan
    Reputation
    780
  • #3
    Robert Charlson
    Reputation
    690
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used BMW 3 Series
1,161 Great Deals out of 33,173 listings starting at $1,000
Used BMW 7 Series
158 Great Deals out of 5,844 listings starting at $2,500
Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class
470 Great Deals out of 19,852 listings starting at $1,400
Used BMW X5
440 Great Deals out of 12,266 listings starting at $2,000
Used BMW M5
17 Great Deals out of 637 listings starting at $9,500
Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class
631 Great Deals out of 26,013 listings starting at $1,995
Used Audi A6
130 Great Deals out of 6,513 listings starting at $1,995
Used BMW M3
47 Great Deals out of 1,780 listings starting at $5,995
Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class
184 Great Deals out of 5,812 listings starting at $2,000
Used Honda Accord
1,112 Great Deals out of 61,914 listings starting at $999
Used Audi A4
273 Great Deals out of 11,336 listings starting at $1,999

Used Cars For Sale

2018 BMW 5 Series For Sale
2,664 listings starting at $50,431
2017 BMW 5 Series For Sale
16 Great Deals out of 2,388 listings starting at $47,106
2016 BMW 5 Series For Sale
14 Great Deals out of 590 listings starting at $24,991
2015 BMW 5 Series For Sale
19 Great Deals out of 681 listings starting at $19,480
2014 BMW 5 Series For Sale
176 Great Deals out of 3,490 listings starting at $13,998

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.