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 RWD

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

2,195

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...

3,395

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 15,888 nationwide 5 Series listings starting at $1,500.

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
    2,130
  • #2
    Michael Branan
    Reputation
    800
  • #3
    Robert Charlson
    Reputation
    690
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used BMW 3 Series
1,088 Great Deals out of 33,695 listings starting at $1,000
Used BMW 7 Series
109 Great Deals out of 5,301 listings starting at $2,999
Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class
687 Great Deals out of 22,047 listings starting at $1,500
Used BMW X5
350 Great Deals out of 14,932 listings starting at $2,995
Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class
762 Great Deals out of 28,977 listings starting at $1,500
Used BMW M5
11 Great Deals out of 598 listings starting at $11,996
Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class
146 Great Deals out of 7,615 listings starting at $2,000
Used Audi A6
144 Great Deals out of 7,342 listings starting at $1,595
Used BMW M3
25 Great Deals out of 2,097 listings starting at $6,599
Used Honda Accord
1,094 Great Deals out of 65,138 listings starting at $561
Used Audi A4
301 Great Deals out of 12,174 listings starting at $1,495

Used Cars For Sale

2018 BMW 5 Series For Sale
3,842 listings starting at $48,956
2017 BMW 5 Series For Sale
38 Great Deals out of 1,306 listings starting at $44,978
2016 BMW 5 Series For Sale
21 Great Deals out of 508 listings starting at $24,991
2015 BMW 5 Series For Sale
35 Great Deals out of 1,152 listings starting at $17,900
2014 BMW 5 Series For Sale
213 Great Deals out of 2,749 listings starting at $15,495

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.