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Found a 1988 528e with just 45k miles but...

Discussion in 'E28 (1982-1988)' started by shilchey, Mar 2, 2011.

    shilchey guest

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    ...it has been sitting for quite a while. I want to check it out but need to know what to look for given it has not been operated for years. Any trade tips out there? Low miles + non usage = catastrophe?
    Thanks for help,
    Scott
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    floydarogers

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    Last year of production IIRC = good. For $1000 probably ok.

    Probably needs A/C R12/R22
    All rubber (hoses, belts) need replacement. All fluids.

    I'd be scared to even drive it - the timing belt would probably break before you get a block.
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    John in VA

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    Brian A

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    Cool car!

    Translation of all the above, "Initially needs some prep before starting the engine, but once the prep is done, it'll be okay."

    There is a lot you can visually inspect for dryness/cracking; window & door gaskets, seats & interior, paint etc. That stuff is hard to replace.

    All the rubber bushings in suspension, engine mounts etc might be dry too, so there might be work to be done there too.

    It all depends how long its been parked and where. If it was "stored in a cool, dry place" it all (except the belts and fluids) might still be perfectly fine.

    ... manual or automatic???
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    MGarrison

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    You might want to pull the plugs and inspect the combustion chambers. Not sure if you can access the nut at the front of the engine without pulling the radiator, but you may want to manually turn the engine to make sure the pistons &/or rings aren't stuck/rusted to the cylinder bores (find out which way to turn the engine). It _may_ be advisable to squirt some oil in there before manually turning over, but I don't know that for sure, do some further research or googling to check that and surely there must be something out there about how to check out an engine that hasn't run in a long time. Changing oil might be a good idea. Check flexible fuel lines, replace as needed. Gas could be a problem - if it's gotten the fuel system gummy, you could be looking at fuel pumps, lines, injectors, possibly, and maybe fuel rail.. Probably depends on how long it's been sitting and in what conditions - sorry not to be more specific, checking & firing up a longtime not-running engine is not something I've had to do. Siphon out some of the gas to check it?

    Probably advisable to change the timing belt, and if you go that far, might as well do the water pump too. Belts & hoses, probably not a bad idea to put those new all around. Might be a good idea to check compression and leakdown before firing it up. Brake fluid absorbs moisture, if there's rust in the brake master cylinder (&/or clutch slave & master, if it's a manual), there's potential to find it (them) leaking or malfunctioning, possibly in short order (bit of a nuisance to try and clean brake fluid out of the vacuum booster, if the brake master cyl. leaks into it). Changing brake fluid is one of the relatively easy diy tasks, with the right tools. Pushing the brake master by foot for bleeding might kill the brake master cyl. if pushed too far, or if the mast. cyl shaft is rusted (ie, consider a pressure or vacuum bleeder).

    IF everything's ok, and you throw the parts and money at it that it needs, you could have an engine that, properly maintained, could run to 300k without pulling the head (as long as it isn't/hasn't been overheated too much).

    drummerfc guest

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    Pictures?? How's the body/interior shape?

    Plus some of the more mechanically knowledgeable cohorts have discussed changing the timing belt/hoses/bets/etc. I would defer to them on those items...

    shilchey guest

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    Brian, this is an automatic and to my understanding it has been garaged - the owner was saving it for his son to use but hte son wanteds something else - go figure... Great tips from all!

    cwbiii guest

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    garaged is good!

    It means that it will be in a lot better shape than if it wasn't... the belt may even be ok for a start. Inspect it and if it is not very pliable or is badly cracked you should replace it before trying to start it. The idea to pull the plugs and squirt some oil into the cylinders is a good one. Buy some "Marvel Mystery Oil" and put about an ounce into each cylinder through the spark plug hole and allow it to sit overnight. That will guarantee everything will spin freely even if it is a bit rusted up. I've used it to even free up a completely seized engine. You can try to spin the engine first with a ratchet wrench on the nut up front holding the vibration damper/ pulley. If it moves relatively freely then it should be ok to start without any other prep. Depending upon how long its been since it was last started it could be difficult to start... old fuel means it won't have much kick left. It would be best to drain as much out as you can or at least give it a boost with as much new fuel as you can fit in the tank.
    Pull the fuel feed line off up front, add about a 4' section of fuel hose onto the end of it and put it into an empty fuel container. Turn on the key enough to have the electric fuel pump turn on and monitor the fuel coming out until it looks/smells "fresh"
    from the new stuff you added. Then reattach to the fuel rail and it will start and run much better. You can also use the same method to drain the fuel tank first if you wish... just have a good charged battery available.
    If it looks good and the price is right, just simply have it flat bedded home and do all this prep work there... you should be able to talk a better price if it isn't running.
    You can always part out what's left if it proves to be too far gone. I've often made more money on parts cars than on running ones.

    Chuck

    shilchey guest

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    1988 528e 46k miles - Got it!

    Wow, to my surprise, the seller had it running for me when I got there. Apparently, they had kept it functional over the years. The car sat at idle for about 45 minutes and the temp needle stayed pegged dead center. Motor sounds goods - tight even - only stalled out when the dip stick was pulled. Still has original Uniroyal tires so they will need to be replaced. Many of the window switches do not appear to work nor do the power head rests but they should be pretty easy to sort out. Even the AC compressor kicks in.:)

    Plan on picking it up on Saturday. woohoo! price - $2,700 which is higher than advised but I figure with the authentic low miles, it merited the premium...
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    Brian A

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    An intact car with all the systems functional is worth a premium. The expensive stuff to fix is replacing missing and broken pieces (interior, trim, etc), repainting the exterior and restoring any system that the prior owner has ignored (from suspension to a/c to seat upholstery).

    If its a car you really like, $2,700 is cheap for any vehicle. Be aware that it's unlikely you could resell it on Sunday for a profit.

    For the engine, mileage is less of an issue. They'll go several 100k without complaint. The car has an old fashioned "slushbox" automatic, which is less durable than the engine. Having low mileage on the transmission is very desireable (if you like automatics). (Caveat: I am not an Automotive Tech; just a punter).
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    MGarrison

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    It wouls still be advisable to change the timing belt asap, imo. Considering you have to do timing belt to do water pump, most opt for the water pump any time timing belt is changed.

    E30 window switches can be disassembled (if one is careful) and the contacts cleaned - considering the similar vintage, I'd think the same for E28's is possible (assuming there's power to the switches, no blown fuses, etc). Try pressing the buttons a little harder and wiggling the button a bit when pressed.

    Congrats on the clean find!
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    granthr

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    +1000 Change that timing belt now!!! It is worth it.

    You can also get used switches on ebay for pretty cheap or maybe even your local junk yard. Go take a look.

    Great car you have there!!!! Very nice.:D:D:cool:

    shilchey guest

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    To be safe, had it towed to a local BMW mechanic to have it completely checked out as advised - especially the timing belt. Any idea on a valid budget for the timing belt, tensioner etc? Mostly labor right?
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    Brian A

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    Budget $450. Mostly labor. ... that'll cover water pump and the other belts too.

    I've done this a bunch of times and have become frustrated by it. These switches are such high amperage the contacts often just burn up rather than corrode.

    Now, I just buy a brand new switch when one starts going wonky. To preserve that attractively worn patina my old switches have acquired, I transfer the new metal innards into the old plastic switch casing.

    If you buy a replacement switch, keep the innards from the old one; sometimes other parts are handy such as the little light bulbs.
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    westech

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    Ask Mike

    E-mail Mike Miller and see what he says. Always go to the top of the mountain and ask the guru.:)
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    CRKrieger

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    E28 switches are quite easy to wash without any disassembly. Yes; that's right: wash. Here's how:

    1. Remove the switch from the console by prying it up and unplugging it.
    2. Immerse it and rinse it under hot water. This gets out all the sugary stuff (Coke, coffee, etc.) that's been spilled in there over the years. Work the buttons vigorously here, and throughout the process.
    3. Rinse the water out with alcohol. Ethanol, isopropanol; doesn't much matter which. Both will remove most of the water. I usually let this evaporate over a couple of hours.
    4. Shoot WD-40 into every crack and crevice you can find. This and the alcohol will remove the organic (water-insoluble) crud that was once switch lubricant.
    5. Finally, shoot some aerosol 'tuner cleaner' or similar into it to clean and lubricate the contacts. Reinstall and give 'em a try.

    To be honest, I've had pretty good success using only #5 without even removing the switch from its place. I just shoot the stuff into the cracks around the button and leave it for a day. What usually causes these to quit working is the old lubricant that turns into a waxy insulator. Get it out and you're good for years.

    Now, get thee over to MyE28.com for all you could ever hope to know about this car! You'll like it for a long time. :D
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    Brian A

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    +1 re #5.

    Do you recommend Color TV Tuner Cleaner or B&W TV Tuner Cleaner?
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    CRKrieger

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    I'll take whichever one is nicely scented.
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    MGarrison

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    Forget all that cleaning cr@p, I'm going to start selling window-switch deodorizer! :p
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    rodpaine

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    If you've got a switch that C.R.'s process doesn't seem to help, try this method which I've posted here, that deals with really gooped-up switches. And DeoxIT is a great electrical problem solver on an E28, as I comment on at the above link, at the top of the page.
    FWIW,
    -Rod

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