My 2002 530i with Sports Package, Cold Weather Package, and Premium Package is a remarkable driving machine. I currently have 142,000 miles on her and she runs like a dream. Even today (2017) I feel a...
My 2002 530i with Sports Package, Cold Weather Package, and Premium Package is a remarkable driving machine. I currently have 142,000 miles on her and she runs like a dream. Even today (2017) I feel a sense of pride, safety, and excitement behind the wheel. My only complaints about my car are the economy as compared to the fuel efficiency wave of the future, and the seals that dry up every 100,000 miles or so e.g. oil pan gasket, oil filter housing gasket, etc. It costs $700 - $1000 to change the oil pan gasket (which will begin a very minor leak around 100,000 miles). This is because you have to drop the entire front axle to get to it, which is a pain. I let my leak go for 30,000 miles or so before I finally had it addressed as it was so minor it was more of a seep than a leak. It did not leave drips on the ground. I had to add a half quart of oil once or twice per year.
Regarding my complaint about the economy 19/24 mpg, I have every intention to intsall a hybrid retrofit when it becomes available. The model I like installs electromagnets in the drums of the rear wheels that are energized via a rechargeable battery. They engage between 1 - 40 mph and drastically increase fuel economy in this speed range (almost 100% increased mpg). They also increase torque in this speed range. Projected cost range is $2000 - $3000.
I should add that this 5 series model (2001 - 2003) is so popular, third parties are still making impressive aftermarket products specifically for this car. For instance, I install the Dynavin N6 (e39) Navigation System, which is a large, touch-screen unti. It has too many features to list including a reverse camera input, dvd player, and micro-SD memory slots. The GPS is colorful and feature rich. You can upload your own screen images to include the radio selection button images.
Some mainstream complaints about this car are self-induced. For instance, many complain about the coolant system failing prematurely via a ruptured expansion tank. It turns out that many of us were filling the tank to the top, which is incorrect. There is a sketch in the plastic that shows you are to fill the tank until the float reaches the the lid. When you fill the tank to the top, the float stick extends four or five inches out of the top of the lid. By filling it up you leave no room for the coolant to expand into when hot.Thereby cause the tank to rupture. I know because I made the same mistake myself.
Additionally, if you don't change the transmission fluid, your torque converter is likely to fail. If you change you transmission fluid every 30,000 - 60,000 miles with the Long Life fluid, your transmission will last as long as the rest of the car.
Overall this is a fantastic car! Buying it used gives you a ton of bang for the buck. Be willing to invest $2500 over a one or two year period to bring her back to like new reliability and performance. take it to a Self-Service garage and change the Differential fluid. Get a wheel alignment every two or three years (approx $200). do NOT overfill your expansion tank and only use distilled water or BMW anti-freeze. The oil-pan and oil filter housing seals are the big ticket items and hard to DIY, but not impossible. They can be ignored for a while if they begin to seep or minor leak. As the leak grows over time you will eventually have toi address them UNLESS the previous owner already has, which is very likely for cars over 130,000 miles. Change your own spark plugs (very easy to do).
The transmission can break the bank if allowed to completely fail. Change the fluid via drain and fill, do not do a complete flush the first time out. Instead, perform two drain and fills a few months apart to gradully replace oil fluid with new UNLESS you know the fluid has been changed in the past. If so flush and fill is fine. If not, 30,000 - 40,000 miles after the drain and fill, you can switch to full flushes every few years. Not as complicated as it sounds.
Anyway, my 2002 530i is a fun, cl