I need advice

Discussion in 'Other Vehicles' started by mattc85, Jul 21, 2015.

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  1. mattc85

    mattc85 Active Member

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    Last week my trusty family transporter was totalled in a hit and run, fortunately it was parked and no one was inside. We had plans to retire it from dd duty in about two years. My insurance company has written me a generous check for my once very nice but now destroyed ford explorer. I have about $5k to spend, keep in mind I need something as reliable family sized daily transportation for about two years. I have found a 2001 BMW 525i in very good condition with about 120k miles. The other car I'm looking at is a 2004 Passat wagon 1.8t engine and similar mileage. Cosmetically, the VW has seen better days but it's nothing that can't be fixed pretty easily. Neither car has much if any rust, and both appear mechanically sound(either will be checked out by a professional before I hand over a fist full of cash). I and my wife definately prefer the BMW, but are compeletly ok with the VW as well. Oh yeah, I also have a bit of a relationship with a good garage who has a euro specialist on staff. To those who have experience with these cars, which seems like the better choice, and what should I look out for in either model?
     
  2. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    BMW's of that vintage need some TLC for the cooling system - water pump, radiator, thermostat, etc. Many folks will replace the key components as a preventative measure. Also not uncommon for most of the seals, gaskets and o-rings to be seeping at that age. That's true with most any car. Also the VANOS seals tend to fail. The car will still run OK, but mileage will suffer and it will be a little noisier at lower RPMs. Rebuild kits are available.

    All that said, i bought a 2002 325i for my daughter and it's been a joy. I still have a pile of cooling system parts, gaskets and VANOS seals in my garage that I haven't gotten around to installing, a year later. But plan to this fall.
     
  3. whaap

    whaap New Member

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    "as reliable sized daily transportation" does not apply to a VW or BMW in my opinion. Especially one that old. If you need reliable transportation for two years, buy a Honda or Toyota and then down the road when you can allow yourself something to play with that might be a different story.
     
  4. mrntd

    mrntd Well-Known Member
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    The VW will be cheaper than the BMW to repair and maintain but not as cheap as a nice boring Honda or Toyota. Don't even look at a $5 Subaru. If they are that cheap there is a reason. Also look at insurance rates. They really seem to move around at the that price level and age.
     
  5. Eric@Helix

    [email protected] New Member
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    From a BMW mechanic, you might want to avoid that 525. I don't know about the VW, but you'll spend some dough keeping that Bimmer on the road. But don't listen to me, listen to your trusted mechanic, and get a PPI. Once they look at the cars, they'll have a good idea which is the best investment.
     
  6. mattc85

    mattc85 Active Member

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    I've found a few painfully boring Camry's in my price range. I'm going to check one of them out after work today. I think the 525 would be great as a Sunday driver, the more I think about it, the less I want to take a chance on it as primary family transportation.
     
  7. whaap

    whaap New Member

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    You read a lot of negative comments about Toyota's and Honda's, etc. being good 'appliance' automobiles. There's not a damn thing wrong with having something of good quality that is dependable. A good, reliable car can be enjoyed just as a good wrist watch can be enjoyed even though it's just an appliance.
     
  8. mattc85

    mattc85 Active Member

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    We had a honda accord for 6 years. That car never gave us any trouble. It was totaled during an ice storm. I'd buy another in a heartbeat if I could find one that was priced right. Looks like I'll be buying a Camry this time. I thought it would be cool to have two European cars....but I also like having at least one car I can depend on.
     
  9. old81

    old81 Club Coordinator
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    Dependability is the key, go Camry, Honda Accord, KIA (if that floats your boat), they are good refrigerators.

    :)
     
  10. mattc85

    mattc85 Active Member

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    Camry 1 is off the table. Everything was going well, until the lady started bragging about how cheap they get their cars because her husband is a used car salesman. It clearly had some body work done, will be in need of tires soon, the serpentine belt is shot and the transmission fluid was the wrong color and smelled funny. After I finished inspecting the car, she said the car had never been wrecked and that she wouldn't budge on her price. I thanked her for letting us look, the Mrs. and I hopped in the MINI and left.
    Because I'm shopping for my wife's car, her opinion is pretty important. She really likes the Passat wagon. It seems to be an honest car and the price is right. I'm going to take another look at it and bring it to my mechanic for inspection tomorrow.
     
  11. mattc85

    mattc85 Active Member

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    We finally found the right car. 2002 Passat 1.8t with 90k miles.[​IMG]
     
  12. ZippyNH

    ZippyNH New Member

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    Congrats!!
    One tip...
    The special VW spec oils are VERY important...the engines tend to sludge up if a regular oils (even some syenthic by some VW folks reports) is used...many BMW/MINI long life 04 oils for gen1 are also VW approved oils ...
    So you might want to do a couple of short mile oil changes with a correct spec (think vw504 oil, not sure) to get the right stuff in and get off to a good start.
    The VW cars from that era are much sought out on VW sites since they are "high content" cars from before VW started to cut costs...
     
  13. mattc85

    mattc85 Active Member

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    Thanks ZippyNH. I'll do an oil change tomorrow.
     
  14. whaap

    whaap New Member

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    You're very wise. If the car is to be hers, let her decide. (So long as she lets you decide when the car is yours!):wink:
     
  15. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    Heh Heh Heh...

    The car will be yours when it needs an oil change.... All other times it will be hers.....:D

    My wife's car always needs gasolene when I drive it....:crazy:
     
  16. mattc85

    mattc85 Active Member

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    #16 mattc85, Jul 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
    So I learned something about Passats last night. I did something I almost never do-I used an automatic car wash. On the way out, the brakes malfunctioned and the engine sucked up some water into the vacuum system through the brake booster. The cowl area is basically a small horse trough when the drain holes are plugged with plant matter. Fortunately it did't collect enoug to fry the ecu or leak into the cabin through the hvac filter, no catastrophic damage took place. I'm very happy this happened to me in a parking lot and not to her on a rainy day in traffic. I drained the water from the booster and changed the oil. I'll be changing the oil again later this week.
    It appears there was a recall/service bulletin related to this issue. I'll be contacting the local dealership tomorrow to see if I can get it straightened out, I don't really expect them to do anything considering the age of the car, but it's worth a shot.
     
  17. old81

    old81 Club Coordinator
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    If it is a recall and not done, the dealer should do the recall, gov. requirement. Of course anything extra will be on you.

    Good luck, good to be safe and make the wife's car nice, makes for a nice life.
     

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