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Another 'New guy needs advice about B10' thread

 
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GRP
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Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: Oxford-ish

PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 1:23 pm    Post subject: Another 'New guy needs advice about B10' thread Reply with quote

Guess the title says it, really.

Hi there.

Enough with the pleasantries. Serious stuff. I'm thinking I might need a bit of B10 in my life. Have scouted the forums got lots of points to note about weak points. All good stuff, thanks very much for anyone who's offered any advice to beginners like me.

So, things I want to know

Subject 1
This link: http://thealpinaregister.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14584
generated a list of key points to examine. What I'm looking for is something for an oik like me to understand specifically what to look for assess a particular part.

...
Control arms/Bushes/dampers - Not clear to me how to check. Worn=vagueness, but if you're not used to the drive in the first place, how can you tell? Any clues? Or does one just assume end of life after 100k miles?
Sensors - lambda, MAF, camshaft position, O2 - ditto above. If you're not used to it, how to tell? Garage sure, but not really something you can do on an inspection
Diff seals - presumably they start to weep?

Also:
Air suspension system (tourer) - erm put a heavy thing in the boot and see if it levels?

Anything else I forgot?

Subject 2
On one of the posts, someone said something like 'Just make sure all the Alpina bits are OK, everything else is standard BMW'. Presumably meaning that the Alpina bits are hard to find and expensive. Sensible advice, then, but what are the Alpina bits on a B10? Ones I know about are:
Wheels/Tyres
Discs/Pads
Springs/dampers
Engine (but this seems very strong so not likely to be a concern unless services missing)

Others?

Any help greatly appreciated. I'll try to be less wordy in future.

Geoff.
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Chas
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Joined: 28 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum Geoff. Plesantries are welcome too. We're a helpful bunch on here so don't be afraid to tell us where you are and what you are looking at. Someone more knowledgeable may even be able to help with a viewing if necessary. Incidentally, the B10 designation covers several E34 and E39 models. If you can be more specific about the model you are after we can tailor the advice accordingly.

An MoT should pick up any seriously worn suspension parts but that's not to say a new MoT means the car is 100%; far from it.

Sensors will generally throw up fault codes if there are any issues but that's not to say they can't be over-riden. Using your ears and your instincts would be the best advice I could give anyone looking at a car with limited knowledge. If everything sounds quiet and it drives nicely, there's a good chance it's ok. Unusual engine rattles / unevenness / juddering / clonking noises and noticable gearchanges (on the autos) should raise alarm bells. They should 'feel' nice to drive, even if you've never driven one before.

The Alpina bits usually are more expensive and your list is essentially correct, although most B10s use standard BMW brake discs and pads. The exceptions are the E34 biturbo and the E39 V8S which are bespoke and silly money. Engine modifications depend on the specific model but tend to include pistons and cylinder head work so not always obvious when you lift the bonnet. Don't forget the exhaust which is always an Alpina special.
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Joined: 22 May 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Neil, thanks for the welcome. And for the feedback.

Me? Well I live near Oxford with my partner and two young children. We don't get out much, but when we do there is invariably a mighty heap of paraphernalia that comes with us; so I really do need an estate. Whatever I drive is going to be my daily driver, but I only do a moderate annual mileage.

Actually, I wasn't really thinking of changing my car right now but this ad popped up:
http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/bmw/e39-5-series-96-04/alpina-b10-v8-s-2003-tiptronic-auto-estate/1385646
and it looked to me like it ticks a lot of my boxes so I thought I'd better get up to speed. One of the other members here spotted it too, I see. Doesn't seem like it's really known to the forum.

Suspension-wise, yes the MOT would spot something disastrous. I'd hope I would too. It's the middle ground where my lack of familiarity concerns me. The ride is supposed to be very good indeed, so some wear might feel OK to me. I just wondered if there might be something you could look at, poke or measure to back up the feel of the driving experience. Given what I've read, on a ten-year-old car, if there's no record of the suspension bushes etc being changed, then they're probably about due.

Regarding the sensor codes, I presume you need a diagnostic to plug in and get a report?

Brakes on the V8S - well yes, the car in question would be one of those, wouldn't it. Bespoke pads and discs? The factory exhaust is stainless, I believe, are they a known weak point? I would have expected them to be pretty robust.

Anyway, the weather's looking pretty lousy so I expect any car-viewing activities will be postponed a little bit.

Geoff.
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Chas
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest that a car like this could be a fantastic buy. The price is at the top end of the range but if it's in good nick it should be considered a bargain. Just remember that it is still a 65k car and running costs will not be the same as a 520.

The V8S has Brembo brakes at the front. Iirc, you are looking at a grand for replacement discs and pads. Shocked Other than that, it's much the same as the standard V8 in terms of running costs. Don't ignore the B3 Touring which is not much smaller than the 5-series and may be equally suitable, if you only have two kids. It's just as quick, but cheaper to run. One of our moderators runs a B3S Touring; he has four kids and lives outside Oxford too.
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kingjam
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like it sold already (see other forum topic).

If Touring and V8 is not essential, there is another for sale at the moment for similar money / ownership record.

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201305036578156/sort/default/usedcars/price-to/7000/model/alpina/make/bmw/onesearchad/used/onesearchad/nearlynew/onesearchad/new/page/2/postcode/sw129lp/quicksearch/true/radius/1500?logcode=p
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Joined: 22 May 2013
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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sold already? That was quick. Still, that may be a blessing really, there would have been some deft footwork involved for me to make an offer. So now I can go back to plan A, take my time with the research, and look for something seriously later in the year.

Some folk seem to be able to streamline their lives and cope with a large family and a smallish car...we're not those folk. V8 not essential but non-estate will be an impossible sell to the boss.
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