I own a 1984 BMW 528e and I must admit it is the best car I have ever owned. I bought it three years ago from a retired Doctor who had stored the car for approximately 10 years. It has 250 thousand kms on it and looks like new. Parts are easy to obtain and install, even with my limited mechanical knowledge.
After reading about the mileages on other 528e's I guess mine has a long way to go. I think the most amazing part of this car is the solid body and lack of rust. I live in Canada, and the City I live in dumps salt on the roads every winter. Even though this car is 20 years old, I feel I can get another 10 years of use out of it. The last point has to be the unique Bavarian shape and styling. It still turns heads after I clean and polish it.
I bought a 1985 with 70K and a blow auto transmission. How can this happen? Shop said the clutches were shot and god knows what else.
Regarding your auto. trans. situation: It is very common for ANY vehicle (American, Japanese, German, etc.) to have it's automatic transmission have issues by this mileage (70K+ miles.). I strongly advise NOT having a BMW automatic serviced at an ordinary or commercial repair shop. Stick with Original BMW Parts, and a mechanic who is familiar and enthusiastic working on them. My 533i is now on it's 3rd automatic. The original went at 90K, and the original owner took it to a well-known commercial transmission shop and spent $2K for a re-build. Then a year later they developed problems. They spent $1K more fixing it. I purchased it a year or two later, and the transmission was fine. But, I noticed an annoying vibration in the driveshaft after a year or two since purchasing. My mechanic showed me what this well-known shop did wrong: Wrong transmission mounts installed (throwing off alignment of drive-shaft), and stripped 1/4 of the trans. bracket. A new bracket, mounts, diff. mount, and drive-shaft solved it. Then 2 years later the trans. had trouble shifting when cold. My mechanic said it makes most sense to replace the entire trans. with a BMW Re-Built unit, for less than $2K. It's been trouble-free after five years and proper fluid flushes (less than 30K intervals).
These cars are definitely tanks. I remember my dad getting 2 and we were doing 170kph easy, and one day he got hit by a small truck and did little damage to the car.
I have an 84 528e my dad bought brand new from a local Atlanta BMW dealership. I bought it from him after I graduated college in 95 and needed a reliable car. It's now a second car, but it is by far the most reliable car I've ever seen! When my other car goes in the shop, a friend needs to borrow a car, or whatever, this car has never failed me. Amazing... they certainly don't make them like this anymore.
I bought my 85' 528e 12 years ago. I have to agree: this car is a tank. I have replaced a lot of stuff (rubber can only last so long), but my car drives as good as it did and better than when I first bought it. It has 245,000 miles on it and looks great.
Every year I go through everything and replace anything that needs to be replaced. I spend maybe $300-400 a year making sure everything is well maintained, and maybe $600-700 if there has been a major repair. Compared with a car payment, this car is very cheap to drive and much more unique than most of the cars on the road.
I do almost all of the work myself thanks to my Bentley manual. Major repairs include replacing the fuel pump 10 years ago, new driveshaft, replacing some rubber fuel lines and coolant lines, new struts, and regular maintenance like brakes etc. I change the fluid regularly.
It is the original engine and transmission - no rebuilds.
The only few times it has not started were due to corroded battery terminals or dead battery.
The way this car drives, I could be driving it for a long, long time.
Enjoyed finding this page. I agree with the positive comments on 528e BMW. Mine is a 1984 now with 584,400 miles. I took a few years to let it rest but now am driving it again 2,000 to 6,000 miles a month traveling. Original engine never opened up. I change the oil every 1500 to 2500 miles. Have used slick50 since 110,000 miles. I change the timing belt every 100,000 or so. Adjusting the valves is simple and really keeps the efficiency up. My mileage on the highway has increased over the years and is now nearly 30 mpg. I have changed brakes three times, fuel pumps twice, my exhaust and cat converter 4 times. Am in Florida so replaced the A/C system last year. My goal is 700,000 before I do the engine. Am working on improving the sound proofing as the new cars set a higher standard. Am on my 3rd clutch and the original 5 speed manual tranny. I can hear some bearing noise that was not there a few years ago so am looking for a used replacement. Have seen the 6 speed which would likely drop my 80 mph cruise rpms by 300 and give me a few more mpg's. Will redo the clutch when I change the tranny next year. What a great car. I have friends who have worn out 5 or 6 vehicles since I bought mine. I bought mine new in 1984 and estimate over 12,000 hours in this drivers seat. I still love this car like the day I bought it. Henry Maclin Destin FL 850-654-1294.
I have owned my 528e for several years, but in the last 3 I have experienced a serious electrical problem - there is a short somewhere that drains the battery. I've had it into several garages looking for the source of the short, but no luck.
Does this sound familiar with anyone, and if so were you able to solve the problem? I need help!
I am second owner of an 87 528e and agree with above comments. I too am experiencing a short that drains my battery. I couldn't find it so did next best thing to stop draining the battery. I removed the fuse that supplies energy to the radio, door locks and computer. It stopped the drain issue but have not solved the problem. I too would love to hear a success story on this issue. HELP Please!!
St Louis Park, MN.
Great comments. I purchased this abused 87 528e aprox 18 months ago, the car was in poor condition. Paint gone, body damage all over, ripped front leather seats, ripped head liner, broken front grill, broken clutch. But I like the design have respect for the brand, they're known for quality and reliability, so I took the challenge to get it in shape. fixed all of the above with an expensive paint job well all of it was very expensive, however if I'm gonna drive this thing it's got to look good. I'm very certain that I made the right choice by buying this car looks great, drives great, love the end result, mechanically it's in sound condition, freezing cold A/C, no regrets. Plan to keep for life even if I have replace the engine down the line beats making payments every month. By the way mine has no rust and yes it looks like brand new.