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On the first day of Christmas my new daily driver e39 gave to me - a title!

14 April 2002
<h1 align="center"><font face="Verdana">On the first day of Christmas my <br></font><font face="Verdana" size="4"><br>"e39 2000 Biarritz Blue 540iA with Sports Package" </font><font face="Verdana">gave to me...</font></h1><p align="center"><b><font face="Verdana" size="6">..a title!</font></b></p><hr><i><b><font face="Verdana" size="2">I decided to document my adventures to replace my daily driver with a 2000 e39 BMW 540iA Sport.  It is long, not really NSX related, and you can't get your time or money back so read on at your own risk.  I am cross posting to the BMW forums so I apologize if you are like me and you frequent them all.  Smoke em if you got em...</font></b></i><hr><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">For 3+ years I drove a coffin.  Yes that is right - a coffin with a damn steering wheel and a brake peddle disguised as a 1997 Cadillac STS.  My parents are snow birds (spend 1/2 the year in Florida) and purchased the most stereotypical car they could find.  Even had the "silver and gold package" which included chrome wheels and gold trim.  My hair fell out and my back started hurting the first time I drove it.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2"><img border="0" src="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_099_2158_JPG.jpg" width="372" height="279"></font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">This car had all the goodies, big v8, leather, sunroof, power everything, and believe it or not it was VERY reliable.  In the nearly 4 years I owned it I put gas, oil, tires, and wiper fluid into it.  It used a little oil and eventually needed $550 power steering pump.  That was it!  On paper - this should have been a great car but it was anything but.  </font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Handling:  I think getting everyone in the car to lean to one side was more effective then turning the wheel.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Brakes:  If you really need to stop it is best to toss as much overboard as possible.  Don't forget to open the door and use the heels of your feet.  Seriously - 18 wheelers were pulling over and getting nervous when I would tail them!</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Power:  300 HP is fun.  Putting them all to the front wheels of a front heavy car with no LSD is not.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Style:  If your idea of style is tacky chrome, schizophrenic lines, and huge bumper guards that would make a mid 80's Porsche owner blush - then step right up retired doctor - your whip has arrived.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">There is nothing wrong with driving a coffin except that it reminds you of death and handles so bad you start to welcome death's sweat embrace.  It was hell.  Well I am a certified car nut and I am not poor.  So why the POS coffin with the steering wheel and the pedals?   Well I have this:</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2"><img border="0" src="http://www.OurFamilyInteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/2004/2004_06_19_Wash_Wax_Shine/tn_DSCN3739_JPG.jpg" width="372" height="279"></font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">And I keep it up here for storage and maintenance.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2"><img border="0" src="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/2005/2005_03_05_Garage_Project/tn_dscn1025_jpg.jpg" width="372" height="279"></font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">I love my NSX and it is at the center of my car life.  I often tell my wife the area of most guy's brain reserved for girls is filled with cars.  I have been a long time subscriber to every magazine about cars and I have a crack addict's response to seeing a nice car (especially Italian).  There is no cure.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Back to our story.  I knew I needed to replace the Cadi - but with what?  Then it hit me like a frieght train when a budy of mine came buy to show me his new ride.  A very sweet 540iA from 2003.  It was black and tricked out with every single option.  It was fast, tight, and pretty exclusive.  I didn't have $35,000 burning a hole in my pocket as that would have been several thousand more then the NSX I am trying to preserve.  I figured my budget was right at $15,000.  From the first time I saw the 5 series I knew I wanted the 540i and after looking at hundreds I knew I wanted the Biarritz Blue.  It is an incredible car in an incredible color that changes with the light.  In direct sunlight it is almost a Topaz and it darkens considerably with the sunset.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Unfortunately for me there where only 20 or so cars for sale nationally with this exact color and fewer are 540i's, even fewer with the sports package.  In the end it took 4+ months of combing autotrader.com, cars.com, Manheim auto auctions (friend is a registered dealer).  The particular car I became most interested in came from Dallas and was owned by a guy that owned a small shipping business and has a passion for hunting in the wilderness.  This became a major source of frustration when it came time to negotiate as he would say "call me Sunday at 1pm when I will be in a remote outpost that may have cell phone coverage."  Arghh!  At least I knew he wasn't talking to anyone else about the car!</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Well eventually he just turned the whole thing over to one of his employees to deal with and that is when the negotiations took off.  The car was parked inside in a wreck room next to a pool table so they couldn't play pool while the boss was away hunting!  They wanted that thing out of there!</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">We started at $18,000 and after about 4 weeks of back and forth we agreed to $14,000 out the door.  I didn't leave a deposit and I knew if the word had gotten out the car would move quickly.  The problems were:  the guy didn't have the title in hand (still had a loan on it), the guy was never around (always hunting), and I had a lot of trips planned.  I thought for sure I was going to loose this deal.  He wanted me to wire him the money and then get the title so we could finish the deal.  I said nay nay.  He finally agreed to scrape up the money and pay it off first but now I have to wait for the title to come in from the bank!  Shoot.  </font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">In the mean time I bit the bullet and scheduled to have the car driven and inspected for $100 to make sure there were not any obvious problems.  The folks at SGS inspected the car which on hindsight includes making sure the car is there and a quick trip around the block.  Not a substitute for a BMW enthusiast or trained mechanic!  They are very good at spotting body damage and frame / repaint problems.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Here is the inspection report and in the end was worth the $100 for piece of mind!  </font></p><p><img border="0" src="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/SGS_Condition_Report.jpg" width="765" height="1268"></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Unfortunately, there were little in the way of service records (other then the BMW records which were spotty).  Also - this is entering the high maintenance part of this car's life and I knew this guy probably deferred some maintenance so let's call it an above average deal.  I own my own business and I was not going to lease it so all maintenance (or upgrades that count as maintenance) are deductible car business expenses.  So if you own your own business and you are not going to lease - buying a used car cheaply that is behind on some maintenance (like Angel Eyes! Heh Heh) can be advantageous.  Talk to your tax person blah blah blah.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">After the inspection and the title came in we were all set and I arranged my flight on the following Friday morning.  Unfortunately for me, I am a huge baseball fan and our St. Louis Cardinals had made the world series for the first time in 24 years and this was a potentially deciding Game 5!  I couldn't miss it!  I had to make excellent time and only stop when absolutely essential.  Even with all that I would miss the beginning of the game and would have to Tivo it and catch up through the commercials.  Stopping was a huge risk as someone might talk about or otherwise have the game on!  I considered some of the biological possibilities to avoid people.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">So I found a sale on Southwest for $49 one way and $14,000 in cash in a backpack!  The night before I freaked the lady at the bank clearing out that much cash as she took me to a private room and asked me how things were at home, etc.  I guess normally when guys walk in unannounced and ask for that much cash they are leaving their wives!  Mine only wishes!!  (j/k if you read this honey...).</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">I met the guy at the airport with my $14,000 in cash and went back to pick up the car.  I was a little nervous as the guy started driving off to what seemed like the middle of nowhere.  I am wondering if this is going to be a "good fellas" moment where we are going to pull into a field and there will be a freshly dug hole with some "gumbatz" waiting for me!  I did once get my "green belt" in TKD after learning some dance moves they teach you and how to break a board or two so I can probably take 5-6 armed guys if it comes down to it.  That or just run away serpentine!</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Well we made it to the office park and I met some of the guys working there.  The mysterious owner could not be found and the paperwork was all there and signed so I started handing over rubber banded wads of $100 bills for counting on the pool table.  Damn this felt shady.  Once satisfied that everything was in order I began putting my license plates on the car.  I also brought with me my Garmin 330c navigation system (Gods second gift to man), my Cobra radar detector, my 1GB MP3 player with 2 additional 1GB chips, some snacks, and some paperwork in case I get stopped. </font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">I then hook everything up and fire up the key for the first time.  The car fires right up - check.  I go to back up and them stomp on the brakes as something is slamming at me and BANG!  WTH!  There is a colossal wind storm in Dallas today and the big aluminum door is slamming open and closed.  I was able to stop right before it crashed into the side/back of the car! Whew! </font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Well on the drive home the weather was crap and still windy.  The car seemed to be down on power from what I expected and the handling was spotty at best which I attributed to the wind.  The exterior / interior seemed to be in pretty good condition so that was nice.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">The first thing I did was punch in to the navigation system to stop at a Radio Shack on the path home.  I ran in and bought a Y adapter so I could run radar and navigation at the same time.  I also bought a cheap cassette adapter for my MP3 player so I could have good tunes for the 12 hour ride home.  I couldn't risk listening to any radio - especially as the game got close.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Driving out of Dallas I was cruising at 85 on the highway and I was doing my best to avoid 18 wheelers that looked like they were ready to tip over on me from the wind when WHAM - what the heck did I just run over!  It appears some yahoo lost his full 12 pack of beer out of his pickup truck and I didn't have time to avoid it before I ran over it with the passenger side wheel/tire.  It made an awful noise and the car seemed OK but a little out of alignment.  Who looses a 12 pack on the highway and why in the hell do I have to find it??  Do you think I could write down the license of one of the tipping 18 wheelers and turn them in for kicking up a 12 pack?  Probably not.  Coincidently the temperature on the outside of the car read +122 degrees.  Well either there had been a nuclear holicost and I hadn't noticed or there was a temperature sensor somewhere up by the passenger front wheel.  Dooh!</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">Well the rest of the trip went pretty well until at one point I was dying to go to the bathroom.  There were no decent places to stop so I thought I would find an old school out of the way place to - em - go.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">I found an out of the way abandoned area off the highway but it was a mud bog!  I literally sank 4 inches as I stepped out of the car.  I should have purchased an X5 as the tires were spinning and sinking in this quick sand!  I sprayed and caked mud up everywhere and I knew I just bought myself 3-4 hours of work cleaning up the mess when I got home.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">The rest of the trip was uneventful and I made it home by the 3rd inning and "speed watched" the Cardinals so I could see them win the world series in real time.  Who hoooo!  What a great way to end a great day.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">The next day I cleaned her up and took some pictures.  When cleaning her up I noticed that the car didn't accelerate as fast as it should, didn't handle very well (lots of shimmy), and there was a smell of gas when starting the car.  Great.</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">I also found several BMW enthusiast boards and began reading up on some of the potential problems.  Then something strange started to happen to me that I haven't felt since going through puberty and when I bought my NSX.  I was like the Grinch who stole Christmas and I started to care about the car and want to make it perfect!  I started to loose all sensibility and started fantasizing about detailing it like I do my NSX, wrenching on it like I do my NSX, even customizing it like I do my NSX.  No this wasn't just another daily driver.  I had an attachment to this car that was going to break my mind, hands, and yes - my wallet too!  I was now smitten with a mild case of mod fever for which there is only one cure - running your credit card up to the max with after market parts!</font></p><p><font face="Verdana" size="2">No - I can't let this happen.  I can't have another car that consumes my life - no matter how much fun it would be.  Since I needed a state inspection anyway I figured I would try out an independent BMW shop very close to my house that is run by some Russian guys.  Hopefully what is wrong will be cheap and quickly fixed and by having others do the work I wouldn't be so attached to her.  Hopefully...</font></p><p><b><font face="Verdana" size="2">Here are the linked thumbnail pictures after the purchase.  Next is the second day of Christmas when my true love gives to me - a enema thanks to my indy.</font></b></p><p><table border="2" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="2" id="table1"><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3331.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3331_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="300" alt="100_3331.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3331.jpg" target="_blank">100_3331.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A 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target="_blank">100_3333_Chips_and_Deep_Scratches.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3334_Pitted_Lights_Road_Rash.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3334_Pitted_Lights_Road_Rash_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="300" alt="100_3334_Pitted_Lights_Road_Rash.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3334_Pitted_Lights_Road_Rash.jpg" target="_blank">100_3334_Pitted_Lights_Road_Rash.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3335.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3335_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="300" alt="100_3335.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3335.jpg" target="_blank">100_3335.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3336_How_Not_to_repair_a_bumper.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3336_How_Not_to_repair_a_bumper_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="300" alt="100_3336_How_Not_to_repair_a_bumper.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3336_How_Not_to_repair_a_bumper.jpg" target="_blank">100_3336_How_Not_to_repair_a_bumper.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3337_Road_Rash.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3337_Road_Rash_JPG.gif" border="0" width="300" height="400" alt="100_3337_Road_Rash.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3337_Road_Rash.jpg" target="_blank">100_3337_Road_Rash.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3338_Hung_Fender.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3338_Hung_Fender_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="300" alt="100_3338_Hung_Fender.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3338_Hung_Fender.jpg" target="_blank">100_3338_Hung_Fender.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3340.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3340_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="300" alt="100_3340.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3340.jpg" target="_blank">100_3340.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3341_Needed_rear_parking_sensor_scratched_bumper.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3341.gif" border="0" width="300" height="400" alt="100_3341_Needed_rear_parking_sensor_scratched_bumper.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3341_Needed_rear_parking_sensor_scratched_bumper.jpg" target="_blank">100_3341_Needed_rear_parking_sensor_scratched_bumper.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3342.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3342_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="319" alt="100_3342.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3342.jpg" target="_blank">100_3342.JPG</A> </td></tr><tr><td align="left" width="100%"><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3345.jpg" target="_blank"><IMG SRC="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/tn_100_3345_JPG.gif" border="0" width="400" height="300" alt="100_3345.JPG"></A><BR><A HREF="http://www.ourfamilyinteractive.com/PhotoAlbums/BMW/BeforeANDAfter/100_3345.jpg" target="_blank">100_3345.JPG</A> </td></tr></table><p>
Nick - you forgot rule #1 when buying a German car.

Rule #1 - Don't buy a german car without an extended warranty.

I'll let others list the other rules.
Rule #2... If you skipped rule #1 please go back and complete rule #1 before proceeding further.

Anyways I am reading the second day of Christmas this morning and my wife is looking over my shoulder reading it too. She says didn't we get rid of that X-5 at 80K miles? I say.... yes we did honey, yes we did!

I hate to work on cars probably more than anything else. With that being said....change the brakes your self. BMW brakes are so easy to change the baby in my avatar could do it
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