26th Mar 2007, 10:09

I own a `84 533i. I suggest locating a mechanic familiar with older BMW's. Also, join the BMW Car Club of America. If BMW's are an interest for you or your son, it's definitely worth it. I joined when I purchased my BMW at age 18. Now, ten years later, I am still a member. Contact Mike Miller for tech questions.

See my 533i review titled, "An Exceptional, Rare Vehicle" for maintenance tips. Most everything will apply to your 528e, except the oil grade - check your manual.

The BMW Enthusiasts Guide is a wonderful book, with lots of useful info. on maintaining older BMW's, as is the Bentley Manual.

Your 528e not starting could be several things: Cold Start Valve, Fuel filter blocked, old Spark Plugs, Cap/Rotor etc. Since you say it runs then stalls, I'd say it's a fuel related issue. Possibly a coolant temp. switch or sensor (mine caused all sorts of issues). Also inspect the fuel transfer pump (in tank).

30th Mar 2007, 12:33

I drive an '86 528e, just yesterday I was at a stoplight and noticed that the engine seemed to be rev-ing on and off while I was stopped. As soon as I took my foot off the brake it pulled forward without me touching the the accelerator. When I got home I parked and put it in neutral and the engine continued to rev. I checked the pedal and the cables and EVERYTHING is normal, I have no idea why the engine seems to be getting gas, it is truly bizarre. What could it be?

30th Mar 2007, 15:29

Hmmm, sounds interesting. I would check the fuel filter and fuel pump. The fuel pump might not be regulating the amount of fuel it's sending properly. Or, you could check the fuel injectors and possibly have them cleaned.

2nd Apr 2007, 10:22

Regarding the fluctuation in idle: I would say it's the idle control valve. When I first bought my 533i, this was one of the first things that drove me mad. The idle would surge from 400 rpm to 900 rpm. The idle control valve and unit needed replacing. Some say the valve can be cleaned with carb. cleaner.

Another time the idle acted up was several years later, only when warm. The idle would fluctuate like before and eventually stall. The fuel pressure regulator needed replacing. Just after installation, lots of black smoke emitted from the tail-pipes once on the highway. It was fine after a few miles.

The last event was due to a mechanic installing the improper coolant/fuel injection temp. switch (two spade switch near thermostat). The idle acted up after being started once warm, and black smoke would sputter from the tail-pipes. It would stall occasionally too. This wrong switch caused the engine to run at cold-idle speed (850rpm) all the time. The car refused to idle after starting cold, under 32 F (requiring holding throttle for 3-5 min. until warm). The correct 533i switch was installed and everything was back to normal. Cold idle was 850rpm, and warm idle was 650 rpm. The color of the wrong switch was purple. The correct one was yellow.

8th Aug 2009, 08:26

For the guy with the starting problem after it stalls, check the mass air flow sensor which is near the air filter. That was my problem also. I replaced it with a part I got on ebay and it runs beautifully now.

4th Nov 2009, 11:17

I have a 1988 528e and I have had some problems too.

The speedometer doesn't work from time to time, so you have to hit it.

The gas gauge doesn't work.

The trunk was jammed closed, the coolant sensor broke, and the transmission tube thing has a tiny leak.

I fixed everything but the gas gauge, but recently my fuel injectors needed cleaning and long story short, I ran out of gas. I recently put in premium gas and it purrs like a god damn kitten. No shaking when idle, no stalling, just perfect. Everything in the car is automatic and works beautifully. It's damn good on gas and is still a classic reliable car.

I love my BMW.

14th Jun 2010, 22:13

I bought a 1988 528e and let my daughter drive it back and forth to work. She called me one day and said the car stalled and would not start. I went there and could not figure it out, but I didn't give up. I turned on the ignition and watched the dash. The check engine light was not on, but I waited for a couple of minutes, and then light went on. I turned the key and it started. Go figure. Iam still working on why this happens. Maybe it does a system self check. Good luck.

24th Oct 2010, 15:12


I have a BMW 528e from 1988.

Recently when I drive on the highway, the heating function just spits out cold air and the overall temperature of the car has been dropping in colder weather. But while in the city, the heater works just fine. Wondering if this is a problem with the temperature valve, or something else!

Help! I am on tour at the moment, and would like to figure out this problem. Also know if it is bad for the engine to be driven while the engine is not heating to its proper temperature in the middle of the temperature gauge.


15th Dec 2010, 20:01

I have 1988 528e and it was working fine till last month by Thankgsiving.

One day I was coming out of the freeway and came to the stop sign and it just died on me. I mean did not start at all. So I've to push and park on the side of the road. After some time I tried again and it started, but very rough idle and seemed to want to stall again. I barely made it to my home by just keeping on pushing the acceleration paddle. Lots of smog come out.

Now it does the same thing, like the engine has no power and as soon as you let your foot go out from accelerated, it stalls.

Please help me to understand what is wrong with it. Somebody tell me the head gasket or maybe fuel pump. I just don't want to put lots of money into it if it is big problem like head gasket. Please give me your expert advice... I like the car and am trying to keep it.

30th Jul 2016, 13:09

Just recently bought a 1986 528e, overhead sensor lights are on all the time, anti brakes lock/light is on, doesn't turn off. Brakes work fine. Odometer does not work! Where do I start ? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Rich K., Lodi, CA.