1989 BMW 5 Series 525i E34 from Malaysia




Fuel pump relay at 305000km.

Starter relay at 300000km.

Warning flasher never worked.

ABS inoperative at 310000km.

Engine rebuilt/overhauled at 310000km.

Auto transmission rebuilt/overhauled at 310000km.

Shock absorbers replaced at 300000km.

Aircon condenser fan and receiver-dryer changed at 300000km.

General Comments:

At age 21 years and 315000km, the car is holding together well and continues to have excellent handling on Michelin tires. Top speed 215kph with 97 octane fuel and aircon off; 205kph with aircon switched on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2010

24th Feb 2010, 16:35

Man, please tell me the location of that fuel pump relay.

20th Mar 2010, 07:56

1989 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5 straight 6 from Australia and New Zealand


Made for comfort and speed; well done BMW


Alternator belt came off

Water pump became faulty

Bottom radiator hose split which led to a blown head gasket

Idles unusually

Leather is worn

Speedometer is intermittent

Some of the interior has come unstuck

General Comments:

I adore my first BMW.

The problems I have had have generally been easy and fairly CHEAP to fix in general. One problem arose, which led to a major problem.

The car drives superbly, but handles poorly in wet weather.

Best car on the motorway, and very economical, which surprised me. It has plenty of power when you get over 4000 revs, and it will pull away from any diesel with ease ha ha.

I love it; hopefully it keeps going strong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th January, 2008

1989 BMW 5 Series 525i Executive 2.5 from Australia and New Zealand


Great car! Fairly reliable, fun and smooth


Fuel pressure gauge (or something along those lines) broke, resulting in petrol spurting in the engine bay... (scary!) on the first day that I bought the car.. didn't I feel stupid... I probably should have checked the car over more before buying it. Cost me $400 to fix it, including a new timing chain, full service and labour.

Overheating when running for a long time, even though it has plenty of water in it. Although once stopped and refilled (due to bubbling out of the reserve) it was fine again. Probably due to old hoses?

Fuel gauge and km's screen in dash keep going out (due to loose connection and can be fixed by pushing on the dash underneath the 'speedo') Probably wouldn't cost much to fix...

Drivers side door won't lock. Although the other doors lock, it still has an alarm and is insured for much more than I bought it for anyway.

Sunroof switch cover clips broke (only cost me $56 to get a brand new one from BMW Germany - don't bother going to a wrecker, they only have broken ones or very easily breakable (from old age), and will charge you more anyway.

Springs in the back supports of the seats are gone, causing me to hold the seat up when re-adjusting (but I knew that when I bought the car).

Brakes - not sure what the problem is there, but it does feel a little funny when reversing down my driveway. My mechanic says that it's some sort of "ball" that has to do with the brakes, and says if it gets any worse, to get it fixed.

General Comments:

I suspected I may have to pay a bit more in repairs and service, but I was willing to do that when I bought the car. The problems probably wouldn't be so bad if I kept the car up to date more, and took more care of the car. But with my wages and being my first car, I'm a bit strapped for cash.

Other than the few minor problems that I have had, I am very happy with the car!! It is a very smooth ride (better than our family's 1991 Saab 9000 T), handles beautifully and is very responsive.

The car isn't the worlds fastest, and getting from 0-80kph it does seem a little above average, (I did lose a minor drag from 0-80kph with my friend in his 1998 manual Toyota Camry.) But I think that was due to the traction control and my bad driving skills. Anyway, once you get the revs up and you get past 80 kph it seems to kick in and satisfy a little more (we both agree it would beat his car above the 80kph range). I am told that I have the 'older' M20 engine, and the newer engines are more refined, but I have nothing to complain about really. It still manages to overtake easily, and can still be quite fun when you feel like it.

The seats are comfortable, but on lengthy drives it can get a bit cramped, but I think that is due more to the fact I'm 195 cm tall rather than the car. It has more seat positions available than most cars, which probably means I won't find any other car any better.

The car has many features that I didn't realize. Just to name one is a warning tone when the temperature drops below 3 degrees in case of icy roads.

The heater works very well and defrosts the windscreen fairly quickly too, as I found out last year when I took it to the snow.

The fuel consumption is not too bad considering it's a fairly heavy car and a small engine. It usually runs about 10-12L /100km for day to day driving, 8-10L /100km for country driving, and 6-9L /100km if you are sitting behind a truck... he he he.

I do love my car, and would definitely buy another one tomorrow if mine died or was stolen. I would possibly upgrade to the 535i or above, in search of a little more fun, but BMW have made a very good car, and my next car will definitely be a BMW! :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th June, 2007

21st Sep 2008, 09:45

The previous writer who had commented on the 1989 BMW525i incorrectly referred to a "timing chain." Actually, this engine (E-34) uses a timing belt, at least so in my engine which I had just overhauled. -Hans.

10th Mar 2009, 05:27

Yes that's correct.

However rather then the chain/belt being specific to the model (E34 in this case), it's specific to the engine.

The older M20 Engine uses a belt, whilst the newer M50 engine (in cars from 1990 onwards) uses a chain.

The M50 also has 192bhp as opposed to 170, and has 10% better fuel consumption, making this car a very attractive pick for any buyer looking to spend less than $6,000 on a car.