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Shuddering worry

Asked by Thanh Tran

I RECENTLY bought a 1993 BMW 535i with a 3.5-litre six cylinder engine. Its odo reading is 169,000km, the service history is excellent and I have recently had it fully serviced. The car has a driveline shudder/vibration and, though it is 10 years old, this is not something I expected from a BMW. Is this driveline vibration normal or do I have unrealistic expectations? The second query relates to fuel economy. I am not a lead-foot driver, but I get about 14-15L/100km. Is this standard for this car? The third query relates to the general reputation of this model. Are there problems I should be especially aware of? My research before buying the car did not indicate any major design problems aside from the usual wear-and-tear issues.

Answered by CarsGuide

15 Jul 2004 Graham Smith

YOU have one great car there. The 535i was the sporting flagship of the regular 5 Series until the V8s appeared in 1993. They are great to drive and pretty reliable. I would suspect your vibration is caused by one or more of the drive-shaft joints. Have it checked by a BMW specialist. As for fuel consumption, you do have a sporty car that is renowned for using more fuel than those with smaller engines. The fuel consumption you're getting is about right for the 535i. As for possible problems you may encounter, the 535i is prone to head-gasket problems at the sort of mileage yours has reached, and if not caught this can lead to more expensive damage to the cylinder head. They are also prone to radiator failure. These cost about $700 to replace and can lead to gasket failure if not fixed when you first notice a higher than normal temperature.

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