Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mid Week Match-Up: Wagon For Jim

This week's Mid Week Match-Up request comes from Jim who writes: My wife’s ‘11 Jetta Sportwagen was totaled the end of Dec. We purchased the car after the lease was up last summer, and I’m looking for something around $12k to replace it with. She wants to just get a new Golf Sportwagen, but I would like to avoid new car value drop. New is nice for not having to worry about maintenance for a while, but I would like to find used options that would be reliable.


Reliable is a very relative term, but compared to Volkswagen's 2000s era products, I can't imagine that a 2000 MY BMW would be that much worse. Check out this 2000 BMW 528iT 5-speed here on ebay bidding for $5,398 with two days to go.

What do you recommend for Jim? Comments below.

21 comments:

  1. Pretty car, nice color combo (the tan interior's really nice on those.)

    Does not have the sport seats, check the rear hatch for rust at the bottom.

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    Replies
    1. Makes me miss my old 528iT manual....this one is even more unusual, in that you almost never see an e39, touring or sedan, without the premium package.....the vinyl seat upholstery (doesn't have the slightly gathered appearance of the Montana leather) and the champagne colored interior and shifter trim (in place of wood) are the giveaways....also explains the lack of sunroof.

      It's clearly been well loved though---it passes the cupholder litmus test.....if they're all working, you have a conscientious seller.

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    2. No, the cupholders are basically an Inspection I item, you replace them every second oil change.

      The low-buck off-brand Chinese versions last at least as long as the originals.

      Both our E39s have the rears swapped out for the little cubby-box. The fronts are working, right now at least.

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    3. That's my point.........most owners never replace them when they break. If they're working, you have a type-A anal retentive owner, like myself.

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  2. Vince, I know you have experience with the late '90s to early 2000s era VWs, but they have gotten much better since then. Starting with the MkV Golf/Rabbit/Jetta/etc. I would argue, so 2004 on up.

    Other than a few minor emissions issues our 2010 TDI Jetta Sportwagen has been dead reliable. It looks like a MkVI Golf in the front but it's really a MkV platform car with a facelift.

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    Replies
    1. "Volkswagen. It's not as bad as you think."

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    2. They would be wise to adopt such a slogan in this day and age.

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    3. I'm thinking I have a bright future ahead of me in the field of advertising.

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  3. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Volvo-V50-2-4i-/191792735834?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2ca7bce65a:g:7IEAAOSwKtlWp-lb&item=191792735834Save your money and stay away from the BMW cash pit.
    You can get a nice V50 for cheap, but it doesn't have room like the big wagons.

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    Replies
    1. Cash pit? I resemble that remark. Or resent. Or something like that.

      My M5 has been, in terms of out-of-warranty repairs, the cheapest new car to 100K I've ever owned. I'm quite serious about that. HVAC final-stage resistor, windshield and rear-window trim, couple suspension control arms/bushings. Now, having said that, I'm sure everything's going to fall apart on the road to 150K.

      The 540i needed a full cooling-system going-over around 80K, suspension and more cooling system at 120K, cam chains and tensioners at 195K (which I screwed up, the end result was an $800 131K junkyard engine to which I added all the new cam-drive bits and gaskets), a transmission rebuild 2K later (I'd say 'aargh' but in the end the 5HP24 slushbox is almost trivially easy to rebuild and not hard to R&R if you...uh...have a lift.) It's been hit and repaired on almost every exterior panel at some point in its life (the clearcoat's starting to bubble on the one part - the roof - that hasn't been repainted) and it needs some driver's seat repair but it rolls into its third hundred thousand miles driving like a new car and I'm not much interested in parting with it.

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    2. Oh, I forgot the M5 fuel pump that stranded me for four hours in Santa Clara...

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    3. And the 540 got a rebuilt driveshaft around 160K, which when removed to do the transmission rebuild at 197K was spraying lube out of the rear CV, the rebuilder had left the gasket out between the CV body and the boot cap. I just cleaned everything up, regreased the CV, snipped a gasket to fit around the shaft, fit it in place, and bunged up the cut with silicone. So far so good.

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    4. mrkwong, since you clearly have doubled up on the E39 goodness, do you care to speculate what life would be like as the owner of both an E34 M5 and an E39 (540i/6 or M5)? Would it be sheer insanity, pointless, or brilliance?

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    5. agree (as usual) with mrkwong regarding e39's. I've owned just about every variant...6 and 8 cylinder, M and non-M, and you'd have a hard time convincing me it's not the best overall car ever made. That's not BMW fan-boy ranting, it's based on really good, reliable ownership experiences. And when things break, the parts can be found cheaply with some comparison shopping and the online support community is massive and knowledgeable. Calling it a "money pit" is a tired cliche.

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    6. Pretty much agree with "best overall", which acknowledges strengths and weaknesses.

      The plastics and some random bits are probably not as good as the E34. The rubber trim around the windshield and rear window deteriorate from solar UV very, very quickly, so if your car is not garaged you'll be replacing these every three or four years. The good news is that it takes 15 minutes and costs $30.

      But...they are in terms of driving comfort the best things ever built, they're usefully sized and usefully shaped and normal humans fit in them and can see out. They're well-characterized in the BMW 'net and aftermarket-parts community, diagnostic software is readily available, they're not the easiest to work on but they're also not particularly difficult.

      And, wonder of wonders, the number of E39s showing up at the local pick-n-pull has ballooned, so I scrounged a sunroof drain tray for the 540 that BMW for $12 (broke it replacing the seal a while back, BMW recently jacked the parts price from $60 to $150.)

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  4. Anyone have comments on how are the recent E-class wagons holding up?

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  5. Can't comment on the wagons, but my 2007 e350 has now gone 40k miles in my ownership, only needing a steering angle sensor ($150) and regular maintenance. I have to think the results are similar for wagons. One caveat to W211's we always mention on here......the Sensotronic Brake Control on pre-facelift W211's thru 2006, is to be avoided if possible, making 2007-2009 the preferred years.

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  6. This question always brings out my Saab fixation - 9-3 or 9-5 SportCombi. I know, Saab yada yada blah blah. I like 'em. Great road cars. If you look hard you might find an Acura TSX wagon close to $12k.

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  7. So you know Jim, or Jim knows you? You know Jim really well or something?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, Jim is my father

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    2. Oh, he's you father, man I didn't know that. Yeah, he mentioned he had a son on the force, that's right. Him and my dad go way back.

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