dsycks New Reader
Oct. 28, 2010 5:50 p.m.

Found a verrry nice looking E28 that may well be a steal of a deal with one possible issue. Seems there is a rear suspension issue that needs some attention that may go beyond the norm. As I don't know the chassis well I ask you all this, what does this mean and how hard is it to fix in reality? Here is what I was told...

"the plate that the bushing mount is connected to in the right-rear well, needs hot swapped. (I had this priced @ a rough estimate of $250 by a body shop, recommended to me)"

Otherwise the car looks like a million bucks. Its an 88 535i with a 5 speed and while I was looking for something with more suspension options that would be easy to swap an LS1 into, this may be too good to pass up. Like $2011 good.

Let me know your thoughts on the issue at hand as well as the car as a whole if ya don't mind. Look forward to replies!

Streetwiseguy HalfDork
Oct. 28, 2010 6:09 p.m.
dsycks wrote: "the plate that the bushing mount is connected to in the right-rear well, needs hot swapped. (I had this priced @ a rough estimate of $250 by a body shop, recommended to me)"

Well, lets see if I can translate:

"bushing mount is connected to " means, "is no longer connected to"

"needs hot swapped". means "The right rear corner of the car needs to be welded back in, since its rusted/crashed off."

"$250 " Oops! Missed a zero!

"body shop, recommended to me" as the cheapest place in the city, who happily also have no skills or morals.

Or I could be wrong.

paanta New Reader
Oct. 28, 2010 6:15 p.m.

I'm not sure what exactly he's talking about, but if this is your first 5-series you should know that ALL the suspension bushings should probably be replaced. If you're able to work on cars yourself, the front end is merely tedious. The rear end is a PITA and almost always needs to be done. As long as the diff mount hasn't pulled through the body, though, I dunno what you'd have done at a body shop? The trailing arm bushings can have issues, but I don't think they actually fail in a way that a body shop needs to handle. Ask over on mye28.com?

Great cars that'll last forever. Truly wonderful. Inherent weaknesses even when they're running right: the HVAC system barely works when it's working, they don't have any modern safety stuff and they get real tail-happy when the rear end unloads (especially in the wet). Insanely robust drivetrain and great handling once things are well sorted. The maintenance headaches are really just rust, old (but simple) electronics, water pump failures that take out cylinder heads and anything in the suspension/driveline made out of rubber (guibo, control arm bushes, etc). Truly great cars.

If you want one and are in PA, get a southern car and get one that's been well loved. One in 90% perfect condition will eventually cost twice what one that's in 100% good condition. My E34, for example, was $3K and almost perfect when I got it. Then I put $5K in parts into it in about a year...which puts the total cost into E39 540i/6 territory. Probably shoulda held out for a perfect car, eh?

WilberM3 Reader
Oct. 28, 2010 6:23 p.m.

if it tore or is tearing off the trailing arm mounting tabs from the rear subframe that ought not be too hard to repair, or if you have to replace the subframe with another e28 from a yard (though not inexpensive, i bought a brand new factory e30 subframe for my M3 for around $750). if its the unibody/subframe mount i'd be leery about it. thats a pretty important area.

but i agree theyre great cars. my bro's M5 was a blast and it makes me want a nice 535is to someday DD.

here's the rear suspension diagram.

dsycks New Reader
Oct. 28, 2010 6:24 p.m.

Have not seen the car in person yet, pics of the car are what really throw me for a loop as the overall condition make me think that rust should not be an issue unless these cars have a talent for staying super model sexy on top while rotting like old fruit underneath.

As for impact... its always a possibility. No sort of obvious panel alignment issues that make me think the car has been beat hard. Quite the inverse, it looks fully pampered.

Anyone know if this is in any way common with this chassis? Other thoughts on the model overall?

(added while above posts were being made. thanks for the input guys.)

stuart in mn SuperDork
Oct. 28, 2010 6:35 p.m.

They can rust underneath (I just spent a ton of money getting my M535i restored) but it's more common to happen in the floorpans and jack points, not so much in the rear subframe mounts. That's not to say it couldn't happen, but I think you'd see a bunch more rust elsewhere if the car was that bad.

If it's just a case of shot bushings, that's not a real big deal and is common with age. The differential mount can go bad, too - the hot tip is to replace it with one for a euro M535i, as they're stronger.

edit: here's a photo of mine from last weekend when I picked it up. It was in the shop for six months; stripped to bare metal, all rust repaired, all new weatherstrip, all new exterior trim, and paint.

edit x2: with proper care and maintenance, an e28 can last just about forever. My car has 200,000 miles on it, I know guys who have over 350,000 miles on their cars and the engines have never been apart.

EvanB Dork
Oct. 28, 2010 6:38 p.m.

Hey, I want that one . I was also confused by the wording in the ad. It does look very clean but the first thing I thought of was the strut mount rusting out.

In other news, Whitehall is about 10 minutes from where I work so if you want me to take a look at it sometime let me know.

dsycks New Reader
Oct. 28, 2010 6:52 p.m.

I knew you would be on this car too Evan!

I'm off tomorrow and plan to get up there and take a look. Maybe if you like we could drop by around the same time and make it a social event.

Right now my hope is that it is just a bushing that has squeezed out and is slapping around. My fear is that it squeezed out and the owner drove it hard and made something pop. Seems the owner is a younger guy who has had the car for a year and I have only been able to talk to his mother who has been pretty happy to offer what she knows.

EvanB Dork
Oct. 28, 2010 6:59 p.m.

My lunch break is 1:30-2.30 so depending on where it is in Whitehall I could take a look at it then.

02Pilot Reader
Oct. 28, 2010 8:34 p.m.

My old 533i was retired due to floorpan rot at the rear subframe mounting points. Granted, this was with 238k miles and 22 years of service in the Northeast, but they can and will rust there if provoked. It is not a fun repair - there are about three panels that intersect there, and if the upper section is a mess (where the bolt comes up through the floor under the rear seat) you've got extra fun on your hands. I believe part of the problem is sunroof drains that empty in that general area, plus road debris gets caught between the bushing and the body, with predictable results.

Even if the floorpan isn't shot, you will really want to replace every bushing in the suspension at this point, which will require dropping the rear subframe in any case.

jrw1621 SuperDork
Oct. 29, 2010 6:58 a.m.

In reply to dsycks:

I found the ad on CL. In the ad it comments that Best Motor Werks has serviced the car. Are you aware that Best Werks is ULTRA GRM friendly?
Give them a call or take the car there for a pre-purchase inspection.

EvanB Dork
Oct. 29, 2010 7:01 a.m.

Isn't that where Anson works? Maybe he knows more about the car.

Oct. 29, 2010 8:51 a.m.
dsycks wrote: "the plate that the bushing mount is connected to in the right-rear well, needs hot swapped. (I had this priced @ a rough estimate of $250 by a body shop, recommended to me)"

My translation is that it needs the subframe mount replaced and/or repaired. If its not rusted to E36 M3 or crashed then its easy.

The alternative is that it could be the trailing arm bushings - which are also easy.

My interpretation of "Hot swapped" means you need to do it while the car is moving. I think that will make it harder.

dsycks New Reader
Oct. 29, 2010 9:05 a.m.

Just had a talk with Anson. Thanks for pointing me to him guys!

He knows the car and says it is in fact beautiful and very well taken care of but said their may have been some rust issues on the underside.

Given that plus the fact that the woman I talked to at the number in the ad said there was a change, noise and something needed to be welded leads me to think that something is loose for real and will need some significant welding and reinforcement to put it all back together.

As such I am passing. Maybe Evan will want it as it should still be a smoking deal for someone but I'm going to pass as I will be doing track time with whatever I get. I don't want to be worried about something coming unglued on the back straight at MidOhio. Yeow!

EvanB Dork
Oct. 29, 2010 9:14 a.m.

Yea if there is rust on the suspension mounts I am going to pass as well. Thats why I didn't go to look at it when the ad was first posted.

ansonivan HalfDork
Oct. 29, 2010 11:41 a.m.

Dan, good talking to you, I'm glad I could help.

John, thanks for the kind words, 'twas a pleasure working on your e30.

The E28 in question is quite rusty from what I remember, the rear subframe mounting stud or studs have likely pulled out of the body. I think the car would make a great winter beater for someone with a mig welder.

dsycks New Reader
Oct. 29, 2010 3:25 p.m.

That would actually be pretty fun... put some haka's on it and go formula drift style on some snowy backroads.


Anson, I should mention I came real close to sending you a note on multiple occasions secondary to your icon. I'm down with any dude who knows where his towel is.

dmyntti New Reader
Oct. 29, 2010 5:07 p.m.

If someone buys it and needs parts or if they have one and need parts I have an 88 528E that has been wwrecked in the front. I sold the interior out of it along with the windows but it does have a good drivetrain and complete suspension. The car has 200k miles on it with the engine rebuilt 100k ago according to the PO. I would sell parts or the whole car very cheap if someone needs something. The car will run but is not driveable.

ansonivan HalfDork
Nov. 22, 2010 6:33 p.m.

Someone local bought the E28 mentioned in this thread and I had the pleasure of spending a few hours welding upon its rusty carcass. I managed to delete the before pictures, imagine a rusty hole through three layers of sheet metal with a stud bouncing around in the center. Both subframe studs were loose.

Should hold together until the car rusts away around the repair.

Passenger side before paint.

jrw1621 SuperDork
Nov. 22, 2010 8:10 p.m.

Did the buyer happen to say what he paid for the car?
Just curious how low it went.

ansonivan HalfDork
Nov. 23, 2010 5:49 p.m.

I didn't hear an exact price, I do know he got it for less than asking price and was happy with the deal. Put a few miles on it today before handing it over, seems like a solid old beast.

dsycks New Reader
Nov. 24, 2010 12:53 a.m.

Glad it found a good home!

As for me I am pretty happy with my new to me 325 and look forward to having it crawled tomorrow as the capable hands of the Motorwerks crew will be inspecting the car and helping me form up my track prep to do list.

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

MX-5 Cup Racing: Live on Your Screen This Friday and Saturday

2 days ago in News

Catch all the action of the Global MX-5 Cup race at Road America live this weekend.

How to Run Compressed Air at Home

2 days ago in Articles

A guide for installing an air compressor and air tools in your home garage.

2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TSI 4Motion

2 days ago in New Car Reviews

Say hello to the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TSI S with 4Motion. It comes with a turbocharged 1.8-liter engine that is ...

You Need This: $1600 Street Racer Ford Festiva

2 days ago in News

It already has a GRM sticker and everything.

Get Your Subscription Combo Deals!

2 days ago in News

Get both our magazines for the price of one!

Your Projects: smokindav’s VW GTI Project

2 days ago in News

Love a good MK5 GTI? You might enjoy this build thread.

Wing It: Simple Talk on the Complex Subject of Aerodynamics

2 days ago in Articles

Whether sleek, boxy or somewhere in between, all cars interact with the air while racing down the track.

2018 Acura TLX V6 A-Spec

2 days ago in New Car Reviews

Acura is introducing something new for the 2018 model year: the Acura TLX V6 A-Spec. It's the highest trim level ...

You Need This: 1989 Suzuki Swift GTi

3 days ago in News

For sale: one of Suzuki's under-appreciated hot hatches.

Buyer's Guide: Chevy Cobalt SS

3 days ago in Articles

All the information you'll need on GM’s entry in the sport compact wars.

Wednesday Night GRM Live: Are You Using the Right Chemicals for the Job?

4 days ago in News

What do all these cans even do!?!?

Project SVT Focus Gets Caught Up on Maintenance

4 days ago in Project Cars

Once again, some off-road action sent our project focus under the knife.


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

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

Learn More