Any of you remember how I was looking for a reliable, good on gas daily? Yeah, I forgot too, so I bought a V8 German project car. I guess I’m definitely some sort of glutton for wallet punishment.

This old girl popped up on craigslist, and was just too cheap to pass up. A 1994 BMW 530i, auto. Yes, the second least desirable E34 drivetrain, preferable only to an automatic-backed M20. At least that’s what I’m told, I prefer to think of it as a lovely, DOHC aluminum V8, which as a result of a shorter stroke than the 4L, likes to rev even more. Doesn’t sound so bad when you think of it that way... This one also has only 184k kms under its belt, no rust, a totally dry interior, trunk included, and a nearly flawless interior with wood trim. I’m told the head gaskets were done by a previous owner, along with new chains and guides, of course. there is no chain guide chatter, so I’m inclined to believe it.

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Now why was it so cheap? Here’s where it gets interesting - it’s stuck in limp mode. That means the transmission will only operate in 3rd, and if you try and drive in any other gear, it revs as if it’s in neutral, sometimes producing small amounts of forward movement. Mmmm. Transmission issues, my favourite. not so fast - the TRANS PROG ERROR is actually pretty common. It can be caused by a weak battery, which this has, or low coolant, which this also has, or any number of other sensor issues that make it panic and go into limp mode. She’ll be getting a new battery next week and getting scanned for codes to see what’s making her angry. (I already tried the stomp test, that might be a US-only thing).

It’s a ZF 5HP18, just in case you were wondering. Not the indestructible 5HP30 the bigger V8s got, unfortunately.

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The worlds most unused spare wheel

Also the person I bought it from has a 525i Touring, with a manual swapped in...it was lovely. Also, an Estoril blue, Euro E36 M3....no pictures sadly, it was too dark. I do, however, have pictures of his wagon, my new 530i, and my friends 540i. He was not expecting me to come in a beige V8 E34, to buy a beige, V8 E34.

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Oh yeah, it doesn’t have a blower motor. At least it’s not that hard to put a new one in. I’m looking forward to this, it’s been a while since I had a good little project.