Javelin MegaDork
Sept. 23, 2013 11:49 a.m.

I have a line on this:

1994 BMW E34 525i

Supposedly it's a DOHC VANOS I-6 with an auto. Anything I need to know?

turboswede PowerDork
Sept. 23, 2013 11:57 a.m.

Give my buddy, James, a call at Munich Motorworks in Portland. He can clue you in to any known issues and if you buy, get you parts at a reasonable price.

SlickDizzy UberDork
Sept. 23, 2013 12:14 p.m.

Early M50, so watch out for the plastic fantastic cooling system parts which will ruin your day if they have not been replaced. That will probably have a ZF auto that takes unicorn piss for fluid. Front suspension is complicated. They were the first BMW where interior quality slipped a bit, but not as bad as the E36. Otherwise they are good, stout cars.

Sept. 23, 2013 12:29 p.m.

Good cars, but better with the manual transmission. Long lasting engine if you don't overheat it, a number of bushings up front (and probably rear) almost certainly need to be replaced. They drive like a smaller car - great dynamics.

Javelin MegaDork
Sept. 23, 2013 12:35 p.m.

Is it flipable with the auto? It's got over 200K miles on it, too...

SlickDizzy UberDork
Sept. 23, 2013 12:46 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Is it flipable with the auto? It's got over 200K miles on it, too...

The auto is a time bomb at that point if it has had anything less than flawless maintenance. That is a $1500-2000 car around these parts, so weigh that against the cost of fixing whatever's wrong with it. Unless it's a couple hundred bucks or free, I'd skip the headache.

turboswede PowerDork
Sept. 23, 2013 12:55 p.m.

I was going to say that the auto is a wear item on those and not easily rebuildable from what I remember.

If the auto is in good shape, someone will buy it since many plebes don't want sticks and just want a status symbol :/

Sept. 23, 2013 12:58 p.m.

Are there really still people who think a 20 yr old BMW is a status symbol?

I think you'd have a much easier time re-selling it if it was a manual.

ppddppdd Reader
Sept. 23, 2013 2:44 p.m.
SlickDizzy wrote: They were the first BMW where interior quality slipped a bit, but not as bad as the E36. Otherwise they are good, stout cars.

The interior on mine was wayyyyy better than on the E28 it replaced.

93EXCivic MegaDork
Sept. 23, 2013 3:05 p.m.
SlickDizzy wrote: Unless it's a couple hundred bucks or free, I'd skip the headache.

This. Unless it was really cheap I wouldn't bother.

HappyAndy SuperDork
Sept. 23, 2013 5:08 p.m.

I paid $750 for my '95 e34 525iA about 2 years ago. It had a bad (but running ) engine, exactly 200k miles, very good condition body and interior. A known good 100k mile Junk yard engine was $350, they usually go for another about twice that around here, but I was in the right place at the right time. My total cost to get it fully road worthy was just under $1800.

Around here I could easily get $3000 for it without trying real hard, because its a shiny clean BMW, and lots of people are willing to pay for that.

Its only left me stranded once, due to a bad alternator. The alternator from the originally engine, plus a new VR had us back on the road.

Just about a month ago I rebuilt the front suspension and replaced all the struts, most of the old parts looked factory original. That set me back about $500. Now it needs an alignment because it way to much toe in. In fact, I think I might go try a DIY tape measure alignment tonight.

The automatic transmissions in these are GM built, 4L30E I think, and use regular trans fluid. I serviced the trans in mine, the fluid was very dark, but low on sparkling metal bits. It seems to be holding up well.

Its definitely not a sports car, but it a is a comfortable, (but not soft),cruiser with enough power to get out of its own way. All in all I like it, and don't regret buying it. For the right deal I would buy another one, especially if it were a manual gearbox car.


You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

Mark Your Calendars: August 18 Is Wear Your Helmet to Work Day

4 hours ago in News

Wear your racing gear to work and win prizes.

Your Projects: Homemade Lancer Evo

5 hours ago in News

Can't import a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III? This forum member just built his own replacement.

Rapid Transit BMW: Meet an Early 5-Series With a V8 Swap

10 hours ago in Articles

Killing a Butterfly With a Sledgehammer

You Need This: SEMA Show CRZ

10 hours ago in News

If green paint and big speakers are your thing, you've come to the right place.

Deal of the Month: Christmas in July!

11 hours ago in News

Get a year of our magazine for just $10.

Tech Tips: 2006–’15 Mazda MX-5

1 day ago in Articles

We asked a couple experts for the best way to upgrade the NC MX-5.

Project Turbo Miata: Hitting the Dyno With a Fresh Engine

1 day ago in Project Cars

After getting a new engine, our turbo Miata project rolled onto the dyno.

Reader's Ride of the Week: Proud Prius

1 day ago in News

Paul Sexton takes the checker while staying green.

Your Projects: Throwback MR2

1 day ago in News

Take a Toyota MR2 AW11, add mud flaps and a cool livery, and you're ready for rallycross.

You Need This: Wacky Mazda RX-8

1 day ago in News

Out with the rotary and in with the luxurious Infiniti drivetrain.

From the GRM Vault: Subaru Bounces Back

4 days ago in Articles

Proof that motorsports involvement can lead to corporate success.

Your Projects: SkinnyG's V8 Pontiac Firefly

4 days ago in News

Talk about a sleeper.


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More