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Advice to a college student who bought my 88 528e

Discussion in 'E28 (1982-1988)' started by gerard6656, Aug 7, 2009.

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    gerard6656 guest

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    I wrote this for a friend's daughter who purchased my 1988 528e with an unknown number of miles (odo stopped at 229K 4 years ago). Perhaps you will find it helpful and perhaps you have some additional ideas. Remember she is a college student with limited resources, this is her first car and the odo provides no help as to when to do service.

    Care and feeding of a 528e

    You have a 1988 528e with a Super ETA engine. It is superior to most other 528e s which have regular ETA engines. It is both more powerful and provides greater fuel economy.

    Use regular gas. There is no need for mid or premium in this baby especially at this altitude. Do use brand name gas - Shell, Conoco, Texaco, Diamond Shamrock, etc. Do not use cheaper "off brands." This is applies to everything except window washing fluid. BMW's have better brakes than other cars and require an above average grade of Brake Fluid. Ditto for radiators, use the BMW brand coolant.

    If you have questions call me.

    I've owned many 5 series. The trick to keeping repair costs down is to do the maintenance. Experience has taught me to:

    Check the oil level at least once per month
    Change the oil every 90 days
    Change the transmission fluid annually
    Change the rear differential oil every two years
    Change the brake fluid every two years
    Use Slick50 every two years.
    Use BG 44K fuel injector cleaner at least once per year.
    Watch your tire inflation. It can change with altitude

    In the instructions below, you will notice everything will be due around Thanksgiving of this year. This is approximately 2 years after I bought the car and did all these things. It will be time to renew this year.

    The car will let you know when it needs a tune up. Symptoms, gas mileage falls off, the engine may hesitate or become hard to start. All you have to do is pay attention. If you have not noticed these symptoms, an inspection light will come on in the instrument panel.

    How to do it:

    Check the oil level at least once per month and top up when it is at or below the lower line on the dipstick. Usually that means adding a quart of oil. There is a big cap on top of the engine. Unscrew it and pour the oil in using a funnel or spout.

    Change the oil every 90 days - Next change MUST be before Thanksgiving! Preferably, have a mechanic or dealer do it. If they don't do it automatically, ask them to check the other fluids, most will do it free. Listen to their advice. My daughter keeps trying Jiffy Lubes and Grease Monkeys with poor result.

    Change the transmission fluid annually - Next Change is due just before Thanksgiving. Again, this is a mechanic or dealer item. If they question anything about putting automatic transmission fluid in a manual transmission RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN and find someone else.

    If this happens at a dealer, politely ask for a service writer more familiar with older BMWs. There will be at least one service writer or parts person familiar with older cars. That person may also recommend other services at the same time. Ask him or her to explain the services. If they seem logical and are not too expensive, get them done then or in subsequent visits. Taking that person's advice will help you make a friend who will help when you have questions but your car will likely run better too. I have been going to the same dealership for about 15 years and the "old car" parts guy has saved me hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

    Change the differential oil at the same time as you do the transmission fluid this year - Next Change is due around Thanksgiving.. It will not need changing for another two years. Of course, this is not true if you hear evil noises from the back of the car, the car stops doing U-turns smoothly, or it suddenly starts dripping oil. Changing it immediately will sometimes cure the problem.
    How to do it:

    Change the brake fluid every two years. For decades Consumer Reports magazine, even with its bias against expensive cars, has said and demonstrated that BMW brakes work better than others. This tends to "stress" the brake fluid more than other cars. Next change is due Thanksgiving 2010. Of course, if you look at the fluid and it is clear you don't need to change it. If it becomes very dark before then change it sooner. Mountain driving can be VERY HARD on brake fluid.

    Use BG 44K fuel injector cleaner at least once per year it is due just before Thanksgiving. The stuff is $15 to $20 a can available at nearly every auto parts store on the planet. Accept No Substitutes. Believe me I have tried, none does the job as well as BG 44K. The people in the parts store will think you are cool when you buy it. Using 44K more than 4 times per year is wasteful unless you are driving 50K or more per year.

    To install BG 44K - fill the tank with regular gas and then dump the can into the gas tank. Probably a good idea if you have a funnel. They may even give you a paper one where you buy it.

    Use Slick50. Do this every 2 years. I've been using it since it came out in the early 1980s and was $35 a bottle. It improves mileage, lets the engine run a touch cooler and extends the life of the engine. Many people believe the stuff does not work because the company makes some strange claims. Too bad for them, it is their loss. I do not believe the claims either but the results from actually using the stuff have been outstanding.

    To install, change your oil as normal and use the Quart of Slick 50 instead of one of the quarts of Oil. It will be due for more Slick 50 at Thanksgiving.

    Keep this stuff in your car:

    If you live in the southwest, you need these things in your car.

    Extra sunglasses, sunblock
    Windshield sun blocking device
    Snow brush
    Ice Scraper
    Can of Flat Fix
    Can of De icing Spray
    Jumper Cables - good ones
    Hat or cap
    "Survivor" Bottle -- REI has them for autos, hikers

    Things you need in an older BMW

    Complete toolkit (one is there)
    Extra quart or two of oil
    A working jack it is there
    A couple rags, perhaps some paper towels
    Extra ceramic fuses: 8, 16 and 25 amps

    AAA telephone Number: 1-800- AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357)

    BMW car club membership card: most dealers give you a 10% discount on parts and service. After your first year, corporate give you a $500 to $1,500 rebate if you buy a new or certified pre-owned BMW. http://www.bmwcca.org
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