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2003 M5.

Discussion in 'E39 M5 (2000-2003)' started by Babydoc168, Mar 3, 2009.

    Babydoc168 guest

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    I have been eyeing a 2003 BMW M5 with 56k miles on it. Any thoughts? Are there any maintenance issues with an M5 of this vintage. The biggest hesitation I have on purchasing an M car without a warranty are potential repair costs and maintenance costs. Is there anything I need to pay attention to? This car is being sold by a BMW dealer. I know this car was over 70k when new. I was initially looking for a 2005-2007 3-series but the dealer pointed this car out to me.

    Thanks

    GWL
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    CSBM5

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    Check out the E39 section of www.m5board.com. Using the FAQ and searching will provide a huge quantity of info. I've had my M5 for almost 6 years now, and for the most part it is a very reliable car. I've had no unusual or outrageous issues (52k miles on it now); however, the internet is full of a range of stories as usual.

    That said, if you buy a 6-year old, 53k mile M5, you HAVE to assume you'll need to spend $$, perhaps fairly serious $$, on issues over the next few years. You could easily drive it for 3 years with nothing more than normal maintenance too. If you assume you'll need to spend $2k per year on non-maintenance repairs, then you at least won't be surprised downstream if something crops up.
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    pseto

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    good advice above. most BMW V8 cars require a little more maintenence and the same can be said of any M car. who knows what happens when you have both.

    if you're really worried about maintenence issues, i'd go for the newer 3 series since they would probably have some level of warranty with it. if you're pretty handy and can DIY a lot of the maintenence, then the M5 would be a lot more fun

    Babydoc168 guest

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    Thanks so much for your reply. I am fairly handy but I've never worked on a car of this caliber. I remember the 1989 325i coupe that used to be in my family. I remember the huge repair bills that came as a result. I have had a 330xi (2005) and 335i (2007) and both were reliable cars. I just have no experience with anything other than a 3-series. I wasn't thinking about an M5 but the dealer just happened to have one. I think the biggest question I have is with respect to the clutch. How often do those need to be replaced? I've read posts which state every 50k miles. Also, something else I want to know is how 'forgiving' the clutch is. This will also be my first manual transmission equipped car. I learned to drive a manual a couple of months back and I am excited about a car with an MT.

    Babydoc168 guest

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    Thanks for the information. Have you had to replace the clutch on your M5? How long should they last (I heard approx 50k miles). I've seen the carfax report on the car that they are trying to sell me. It looks like all that has been done on the car is routine maintenance and the inspections. A cupholder was replaced, but nothing else. If I buy this from a dealer, can I be assured that I won't have trouble as soon as I drive it off the lot? Should I have someone else inspect it? It comes from a reputable BMW dealer in this area.

    Thanks

    Greg
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    pseto

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    IMO replacing the clutch is all a function of how hard the car was driven and the amount of wear. most M clutches are NOT forgiving, especially when compared to other BMW manuals.
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    CSBM5

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    Greg,

    Yes, I replaced my clutch at 28k miles; however, I autocross and track the car (instructor/solo). It is a garage queen that never gets driven in the rain, yet it gets driven hard at times. I've won FTD with it three different times at the Sandlapper chapter autocrosses at the BMW Performance Center (yes, the car is modified a bit and in the right places plus I've been autocrossing/track for 30+ years). When the clutch was done, I replaced the dual mass flywheel too even though the original was judged fine (I'm kind of anal, lol). So it has about 24k miles on the current clutch, and it is still perfectly fine with lots of very hard, but respectful, use.

    The problem with the E39 M5 clutch is that it is not sufficiently sized to handle the thermal loads imposed on it by a ham-fisted driver's inability to know how to properly hookup a clutch and tires on launching a car with the M5's power hard (or shifting it hard/quickly). Hence it overheats and gets fried when abused (note abuse is defined here as not driving hard but driving with no mechanical respect/understanding). One can easily fry an M5 clutch in just a few miles of stupid driving. You can't ever try to transfer major power (huge torque of the S62) through a clutch that isn't hooked up. Inexperienced drivers do though...ask the guys at the Performance Center about the number of times students fried E39 M5 clutches.

    At the mileage of the car you are looking at, if it still has the OE clutch, I would assume it needs a clutch/flywheel shortly. Also, I would replace the fuel filter, both MAFs, and front O2 sensors if they are all original. See, I told you I was anal. These three things will freshen up an S62 at that mileage to run as strong as new. Definitely get it inspected by a independent source familiar with the E39 M5 before ever thinking of buying it. Do not trust ANY dealership or seller. Assume the worst about any car, and then methodically go about proving your worst assumptions wrong. Also, the m5board may have some history on that car -- perhaps a board member's former car. Don't forget to google the VIN too.

    Babydoc168 guest

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    Thanks Chuck for the reply. Another question. I don't intend on tracking the car. I might open the throttle up but nothing fancy. Does driving the car gently prolong the life of the clutch? I will go ahead and demand to see the service records. It looks like a local car. Not sure if it was the dealer's personal car. I cannot tell if it is a good thing or a bad thing that the car has been in his inventory since Oct '08.

    I see that you own a 330i with performance package. That would be my second choice if I the M5 does not pan out or I can't find an MT E90 which is reasonably priced. Any qualms about that car?

    Greg
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    CSBM5

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    The E46 330i has actually had more issues than either the E39 M5 or the E90 330i. By the way, our E90 has been the most reliable car we've ever bought (so far, knock on wood) in 30+ years. The E90 has only had a couple of issues covered under warranty, and now has just left warranty with 52k miles. The only warranty claims since new were a sunroof position sensor and the bluetooth module. The latter was just replaced on the 2nd service visit for the iDrive locking up.

    The E46 has a number of warranty coverage issues over the years, and I replaced the front thrust bushings and rear trailing arm bushings last year. It seems these wear pretty quickly on an E46 although the "typical" driver might not notice any issues until they have tire wear problems or something. I caught the thrust bushing issue when I was checking the car carefully prior to my daughter doing a CCA HPDE school in it -- the left front one had a LOT of play in it.

    In any event, the ZHP is a fun car, but it is dramatically different than the M5.

    With respect to driving gently vs clutch life, YES. I have a friend who has had his M5 for 170k miles now, and it he got just over 100k on the original clutch. He's had the car for 9.5 years and never wants to sell it. :)

    Babydoc168 guest

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    What does it cost to do an Inspection II on an M5? How about replacing a clutch? Also, I've seen lots of different prices for a 2003 M5. This particular one that I'm looking at has 56k miles on it and has about every option offered. The dealer wants 32k. I've seen people selling these cars from 25k-29k. I have also seen posts on the M5board telling another guy to pay $22k for one with Dinan mods on it.

    Thanks again. (sorry about so many questions, this is the first M car I've considered purchasing).

    Greg
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    CSBM5

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    I can't help on Insp II costs -- plus it will vary dramatically by dealer/location.

    Same with the clutch. If you have a competent indy do it and buy the LUK clutch parts (OEM parts, just not from BMW), the price will be dramatically different than a typical dealer. You'll have to price this at your locale.

    Options-wise, there were VERY few options on an M5 here in the US. You only had the following options: park distance control, fold down rear seats, and M-audio. On cars with the sport interior, one other option was available: rear sunshades.

    $32k is a crazy price for that 03 M5. This dealer is REALLY trying to screw you. Auction prices on 03 M5s with that mileage were already in the low 20's back in January. Heck, auction prices for 2006 V10 M5s are in the high 30's at the moment. There is no chance that car would sell for anything close to that value on the open market as that is around a 45% premium to wholesale value. It is priced AT LEAST $6k over the retail market. However, it does depend on its condition, records, etc. If this car has always been garaged, never driven in snow, one-owner, all records showing oil changes in between the BMW interval (which is stupid long), etc, then all of that will make a difference to the right buyer.

    Before I'd ever consider that car at $32k, I'd look at one of the two cars out on the west coast that have less than 100 miles on them (they are brand new and have been properly taken care of since new). The guy has a 2000 and a 2002 model. I think the 2000 has ~1800miles and the 2002 has less than 100 or so. They are priced in the 40's. I think the 2002 model could be bought for $45k.

    Babydoc168 guest

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    Where can I find the auction prices?

    Thanks,

    Greg
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    CSBM5

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    You have to know a someone who has a dealer's license and access to Manheim's system.
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    granthr

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    One other thing to keep in mind. The E39 M5 is going to burn through tires. So don't expect to get a lot of mileage out of them.

    Michael Berlin guest

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    Looking for E39 M5

    Hi Chuck,

    I'm also looking for a really nice E39 M5 and was wondering if you had the contact info the person selling the two cars you mentioned in your post.

    Thanks,

    Michael
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    CSBM5

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    Contact BigGar on m5board.com. He is the one who maintains the collector's cars. The 2003 was sold to a boardmember from Switzerland who had a great experience purchasing the car. The 2002 M5 is silver with 70 miles I think. The 2000 M5 has 1900 miles. He also has two "new" Z8s left too with less than 100 miles on them. See this thread on m5board. Also, here is the link to his photo album -- click the cars in the frame on the left.

    Regards,

    Autohaus guest

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    A dealer near me is selling a 2000 M5 silver/black for $25K. OP, is the 03 M5 a CPO? If it is then hopefully it will expire around July of this year. Remember, the last batch of E39's were made around June/July 2003. A CPO 03 E39 M5 for $32K is not too bad but try to use the last few months of CPO left as a negotiating tool to drive the price down to the high 20's. Also, ask to see service records. Make sure it had its mandatory 1200 mile service (oil, tranny, diff fluids) done.
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    03BeastCharmer

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    I've had my '03 M5 since 2005, and short of regular oil changes and tires, my maintenance has run about $1,200 per year. The clutch was replaced before I got the car at 32K mi. I just passed 70K miles this weekend, and it's just fine, as I don't try to abuse it (no full throttle until clutch has fully engaged). I recently replaced a lot of the rubber parts (guibo, bushings). I also have to deal with leaks. For as high strung as the engine is, the car has been very reliable. But it does chew up PS2's like there is no tomorrow. But I love every moment of ownership.

    Michael Berlin guest

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    Thanks Chuck, I really appreciate the lead. I ended up finding a really nice 2003 with low miles in SC and it should be arriving in the next 3 weeks. Can't wait to get my hands and feet on it!

    Best,

    Michael
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    CSBM5

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    Best of luck with the M5. Check out all the resources available in the E39 section of m5board.com and join the community there.

    What is the story on the car you found? (color outside/inside, miles, condition, etc)

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