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Spenser
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23/04/2019 9:08 pm  

Initially wasn’t thinking about anything other than driving this Jeep, but when I had to replace the head shortly after getting it, I discovered I enjoy tinkering with cars. Never been one to care about how my vehicle looks, but eventually decided I wanted to slightly alter it - how I think they should have come stock from the factory. Finally got around to doing the vertical part on Sunday. 1.5” taller, 2” larger tires, and 2” wider stance. Found my shocks were almost shot when we lifted it, so will be replacing those next week. Currently have about 20 miles left before I hit 200k, so this tractor motor is just about broken in now 😜

34873D8A 73A3 42D4 B52D 723C3526CC32

This post was modified 4 months ago 4 times by Spenser

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Alkasquawlik
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06/08/2019 9:31 am  

My 3rd gen 4Runner finally is starting to show its age. The headgasket needs to be replaced, suspension needs to be taken care of, numerous minor things, etc. 330k miles, so I got my use out of it, but didn't want to start pouring money into it. I moved out of Tahoe back to the Bay Area, so I didn't necessarily need 4WD/AWD, and wanted something more fun to drive as a daily commuter. I grew up driving older BMWs ('85 528e and '91 325iX) and wanted to get back into something German.

Cue 18 year old Alka's dream car. 2003 540i M-Sport with a 6-speed manual. Previous owner installed an M5 short shift kit and deleted the muffler, otherwise it is bone stock. It's definitely not as practical and I'll have to bum rides off of friends to get up to the snow this winter, but it is so incredibly fun to drive, I think the trade off is worth it.

IMG 4659
IMG 4657


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unsuspected
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06/08/2019 12:41 pm  

I aprove 🙂

180cm I 87kg-142kg I 270MP
Go wide!


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Spenser
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06/08/2019 5:08 pm  

Good luck $$ 😜


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highme
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07/08/2019 6:46 am  

Damn, a black E39 540i is right in my wheelhouse. I tried to convince the wife to get a 540i wagon when we bought her last car but she wanted to stick with the E320 wagon. 


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Alkasquawlik
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07/08/2019 4:16 pm  
Posted by: highme

Damn, a black E39 540i is right in my wheelhouse. I tried to convince the wife to get a 540i wagon when we bought her last car but she wanted to stick with the E320 wagon. 

An E39 wagon with a 6-speed would be my ideal car. Best of both worlds. I've seen a few on BAT, but they've mostly been project cars and were still going for above my budget price.


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Alkasquawlik
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07/08/2019 4:17 pm  
Posted by: Spenser

Good luck $$ 😜

Not looking forward to it, especially after experiencing how cheap/reliable the Toyota/4Runner parts are, but heart won out over the head haha


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Spenser
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07/08/2019 4:35 pm  

Haha I was just being a jerk, but I’m glad you know that reality. I guess just keep it healthy and do as much of your own work as you can 🤷‍♂️

It really is hard to beat early/mid 4runner models. My girlfriend has an ‘02 and it’s just a superb vehicle. I still love my Jeep, but a 2nd gen 4runner would be my next choice.


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89c51
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08/08/2019 8:45 am  
Posted by: Alkasquawlik

It's definitely not as practical and I'll have to bum rides off of friends to get up to the snow this winter, but it is so incredibly fun to drive, I think the trade off is worth it.

 

Put some proper snow tyres on it (also keep chains in the trunk for that rate occasion) and a roof box if you don't want to mess the interior and you have a winter ready vehicle.

FFS its a family orientated sedan. Cant get more practical than that.


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Alkasquawlik
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08/08/2019 8:48 am  

They don't call it a Bavarian Money Waster for nothing lol

Agreed on the 4Runners, just everything you need in a car. I was extremely happy with mine and was looking at 4th gen models, but really wanted to get back into a German car now that 4WD/AWD wasn't a necessity. My brother is going to take mine and fix it up, so I'll still have access to it for the winter, so everything works out.


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matty
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08/08/2019 11:28 am  

There's seemingly an unfortunate correlation between how "nice" a car is and how expensive it is to repair and maintain. I haven't been stoked on the costs associated with driving a European car again (Volvos and BMWs seem to be similar in terms of maintenance costs here in Seattle), but it's so much more comfortable than my friends' Subarus or Toyotas. I spend about 90 minutes a day commuting, and for me the added maintenance costs are justified by being more comfortable while I'm sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I also appreciate the cocoon of airbags and related safety features when I'm surrounded by fellow motorists trying to hit warp speed on the way up to the mountain in the Winter. My old Pathfinder was capable and utilitarian, but it was also slow, loud, and not very comfortable.


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matty
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08/08/2019 12:35 pm  

From everything I've heard, while some European brands like Land Rover and Jaguar are unreliable, some others, like Porsche and Mercedes, are known for having reliability up there with the Japanese manufacturers. This is per statistical data from places like Consumer Reports, Blue Book, and JD Power and Associates. I am curious what the sources of your data may be?

From what I understand, if you purchase a used car like my Volvo that is expected to be reasonably reliable, the difference will be that the cost of maintenance and occasional repair (here in the U.S.) will be more expensive than for a non-Euro brand because parts are more expensive and repairs are more time-consuming due to the complexity of the engineering (my car seemingly has more computer control units than the space shuttle - there's even one in the fucking rear-view mirror that helps run components in the dash).

I did the "tractor" thing for years. My daily driver was a 1991 Nissan Pathfinder. No airbags. Fairly simple drive-train. I could easily do much of the regular maintenance stuff myself and even some simple repairs. It SUCKED for sitting in rush hour traffic jams in a metropolitan area of 4 million people on a daily basis to and from work. It was a bummer on a multiple lane interstate highway up to the ski area. It wasn't particularly safe. I have the budget to drive something much safer and much more comfortable that still performs well in the snow, so when the Pathfinder finally appeared to be on its last legs, I "upgraded".

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by matty

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highme
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09/08/2019 12:36 pm  

Around MY 2000 is when things go south for maintenance costs on luxury brands (MB or BMW). Sure, prior to those years the parts are still a little more spendy than Toyota/Subaru parts, but at that time the engineers were more in charge of design than the accountants. Around 2000 there's a marked change is design philosophy where "planned obsolescence" wins out over proud German engineers building shit to last FOREVER. Things like all of the bushings in the front suspension go from solid rubber to "hydraulic filled" that all seem to fail right around 80-100k miles. So when you take your just out of warranty E class to the dealership you get a repair quote that's about as much as a down payment on a new leased E class*.

The E39 platform 5 series (like Alka's) are right on the cusp of that, there's just enough stuff that they can be a bit tricky. The E34 chassis is much more reliable and easy/cheap to maintain. The car I "co-drive" on the Gambler 500 is an E34 525i and it's ridiculous what we do with that thing. My next not truck like vehicle will likely be an E34 or E39 depending on what's available at the time (still kicking myself for not picking up the 5spd swapped E34 wagon I found a few years back). I absolutely love the aesthetics of the E39, so I'm leaning that direction when the time comes but wouldn't be unhappy with an E34. The 540i E39 has been the "bang for the buck" choice of Jalopnik readers for awhile, it's almost a M5 but with a couple of things that make it cheaper to maintain. Still has that 4 liter V8 though.

 

* This is all based on observations of one of my best friends who owns a shop and the E34 we Gamble and has this crazy ass instant recall memory for all kinds of automotive shit that continually blows me away. Like, dude sometimes can't remember he's told me the same story a few times over but if somebody asks what trim packages were available on an early 80s Toyota Starlet he can give you all that data.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by highme

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Alkasquawlik
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12/08/2019 10:33 am  
Posted by: highme

Around MY 2000 is when things go south for maintenance costs on luxury brands (MB or BMW). Sure, prior to those years the parts are still a little more spendy than Toyota/Subaru parts, but at that time the engineers were more in charge of design than the accountants. Around 2000 there's a marked change is design philosophy where "planned obsolescence" wins out over proud German engineers building shit to last FOREVER. Things like all of the bushings in the front suspension go from solid rubber to "hydraulic filled" that all seem to fail right around 80-100k miles. So when you take your just out of warranty E class to the dealership you get a repair quote that's about as much as a down payment on a new leased E class*.

The E39 platform 5 series (like Alka's) are right on the cusp of that, there's just enough stuff that they can be a bit tricky. The E34 chassis is much more reliable and easy/cheap to maintain. The car I "co-drive" on the Gambler 500 is an E34 525i and it's ridiculous what we do with that thing. My next not truck like vehicle will likely be an E34 or E39 depending on what's available at the time (still kicking myself for not picking up the 5spd swapped E34 wagon I found a few years back). I absolutely love the aesthetics of the E39, so I'm leaning that direction when the time comes but wouldn't be unhappy with an E34. The 540i E39 has been the "bang for the buck" choice of Jalopnik readers for awhile, it's almost a M5 but with a couple of things that make it cheaper to maintain. Still has that 4 liter V8 though.

You're right on point. The pre-2000s German cars definitely were engineered to a different standard than the more modern vehicles. There's a reason you still see a bunch of old E30s/E28s/E34s kicking on the road. It's why I was very hesitant to get something newer than the E39. I poked around at E92s and E60s a bit and ended up at the end debating between the 540i and an E61 535Xi wagon. I haven't really heard great things about those model years (electrical gremlins, harder to complete DIY repairs, turbo longevity, etc.), so I went with the E39.

I love the E34s, was looking at those as well, but wanted something a bit more modern, so ended up with the E39. E39 M5 was my actual dream car, but the buy-in/maintenance and up-keep on those scared me away. Very happy with the 540i/6 though. The power, comfort, and looks is everything I wanted. Like you said, the aesthetics are still amazing, especially for a 15 year old car. I'm biased, but it's definitely one of, if not the best looking design BMW has ever come out with. I catch myself looking back at it whenever I park it. I wanted a 2003 model year as well, since it was the last year in the production run, so this one ended up falling into my lap for a very good price, couldn't resist. 


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Peter
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12/08/2019 12:12 pm  

The old adage they don't make em like they used to. I love my 73 2002. Surprisingly  the E21's haven't gotten to the E30/2002 prices yet.....might have to find an excuse to fund one.


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