1985 BMW 524td
CA Plate “E28 DSL”
05/1985 build date
Cosmos Blue paint code 185
Current miles: under 54,000
Price: let's talk
History (derived from online records and carfax):
- The car was first sold (new) in upstate New York in 1985 (sold in Poughkeepsie).
- On 10/29/2012, it made its way to Florida, likely via a snowbird, as it shows subsequent service events in upstate NY.
It then sold on eBay on 10/19/2013. It was a no reserve auction, closing at $9000 and the car had 39,560 miles. The next owner had this to say about it:
I purchased this car over 2 years ago from a private seller who was looking to flip it. He purchased it at an estate sale in south FL…just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I won the auction on Ebay and paid $9,000 for the car. The price I paid certainly seems high to many, but for me this car was more than an investment and simply a means of transportation. I wanted a vintage BMW diesel that I could use as a daily driver and there simply weren’t / aren’t really any others out there, at least not like this one.
- This seller, Raymond, listed and sold the car on BaT on 1/14/16 where it sold to a Steve Rossi.
- After that, the car went back to NY (Sag Harbor) for a few months then likely was driven across to San Francisco, as the miles went from 44,472 to 47,250 in only 6 months. The car was listed at Cars Dawdyiak, a high end private dealer in SF, advertised at $15,900 on their site. They also had the car twice on eBay, in all ads described as “paint noted as original, rust free”. The car actually sold sometime in December 2016 with 47305 miles.
- I came across the car on 7/9/18 at a local auction in San Francisco, while looking for a (different) car for my daughter. I had never seen a 524td, and as a diesel enthusiast, I was curious. I googled the model, and there was very little info out there, aside from a car that had sold on BaT. As I looked closer, I realized that this was in fact the same car. As a former E30 owner and BMWCCA member, I missed having a classic BMW in the house, and so I wrote a decent offer and was surprised when I won it. I paid another $500ish in back DMV fees and taxes to get it on the road. I’ve owned it since.
The BaT and Dawydiak ads would lead you to believe the car was loved and perfect. Maybe at one time it was. When I got it post-auction, the thing started hard, and barely moved. I had to avoid highways to get it home. I did a full service on it, had the timing belt checked right away, and began improving it further.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist with renovating cars. If it’s broken, I fix it, the right way (most of the time). A list includes:
- 7/15/18: installed new glow plugs. Changed oil, oil filter, air filter, fuel filter. Installed Avital keyless entry (drivers lock tumbler is not catching)
Took to Autohaus in San Anselmo for inspection, owner has had 2 524tds of his own. Verified TBelt is new/recent, noted possible leaking injector return lines. Says a/c compressor engages, check refrigerant levels. Confirms miles look consistent with condition.
- Sep 18: had brand new Bosch nozzles from Germany installed and injectors rebuilt by Oregon Fuel Injector Service in Eugene (shimmed and calibrated). I reinstalled injectors and new return lines.
- Sep 20: coolant and radiator flush
- Sep 22: new a/c line from local hose shop. Took to JC Auto for a/c service. $200+$250
- Sep 29: pulled 3rd injector (with wires) leaking from upper area. Sent back to OFIS. Barely backed into daughter’s A3, bumper supports are rusted and pushed into damaged rear valance (!). Possible prior rust damage repair under there. Sourced replacement bumper shocks.
- Oct 20: sourced good used 3rd injector with wires, sent to OFIS. They moved over the new nozzle and rebuilt this injector (no charge). Installed and runs great. Also sourced set of Bilstein HD. $650
- Oct 31: installed bulbs into front window switches from junkyard (mine did not have bulb holders) I have extra switches.
- Nov 18, 49,400 miles. Installed rear Bilstein HD and replacement OE (identical) springs. Found coolant leak at front cluster of hoses.
- Dec/Jan 2018. Replaced all coolant hoses except one (NLA) and tee. Flushed coolant. Also replaced the radiator with a new 528e style unit and matching hose.
- Oil change and filter. Cluster sent to Bavarian Restoration for rebuild of SI board. $375 plus Program replacement SI board $185. Installed a temporary cluster just in case I needed to move the car.
- Details of cluster rebuild:
-Entire cluster is disassembled.
-All contact surfaces which supply power and signal to gauge motors is sanded down to get rid of copper oxidation and finished with dielectric grease.
-Speedometer circuit board is reconditioned with new solder throughout, power capacitors are replaced.
-Odometer gear set completely dismantled, thoroughly cleaned and new gear set installed.
-Main circuit board is inspect for solder joint or trace cracks under intense magnification, repairs made if necessary. Entire main board reconditioned with new solder. Power resistors for alternator charge circuit and temp gauge current limiting are replaced with new. Transistors to control brake lining circuit replaced. Applies only to clusters with separate main board.
-Recondition SI board with new solder, only for SI board that do not have substrate coating on it, susceptible to copper oxidation. SI board inspected for damage under intense magnification, make repairs as necessary. Replace 20+ transistors, capacitors and voltage regulators. Replace power batteries.
-Since your SI board failed final tested, it needed to be replaced.
-Primary illumination bulbs are replaced with new bulbs which 0.3W increase in power. Sufficient to improve lighting but not enough to burn anything.
-All other indicators are inspected for operation and replaced if necessary.
-Spring washers for temp and fuel gauges replaced with new.
-Front and rear housings are cleaned of debris and clear front cover is high speed polished. Refinishing of the housing paint when required, authorized and paid for by client. Not all E28 clusters require cluster housing and often two housings are required, clear cover and housing are welded together so one must be cut apart and glued to a donor to build one fully restored housing. This was not the case with yours.
-Cluster undergoes extensive testing of all circuits on our test bench. A minimum of 15 miles is put on the odometer for testing.
-If any non functioning items arise, we focus in and repair those.
-Cluster is fully assembled and screwed together and tested prior to shipment.
-Quality control stickers applied.
- Feb 2019. Just under 50k. Changed oil and filter. Installed front Bilstein HD and new strut mount bearings (Sachs with conversion plate and washers). Replaced all tie rods (center and sides) with Febi. DIY $400
- Mar 2019 Prestige Autohaus checked the steering for me. Replaced PS hoses and PS pump. Replaced upper control arms and bushings with modified 735i parts. Replaced/shimmed idler arm. $1000.
- Mar 2019. Bought used set of Style 7 15” rims. Refinished, repainted and installed with new Ohtsu tires. $800
- Dec 2019. Rear bodywork/welding/painting. Reinstalled bumper and moldings. $250
- Feb 2020. 53,200. Changed oil, fuel filter. Transmission service. New rear trunk gasket. $250
- Driver’s lock cylinder doesn’t work with the key, spins (common on e28s). Keyless entry installed, key in passenger door or trunk will unlock all doors.
- Slight coolant loss (less than a pint over 2-3 weeks). No visible leaks, no signs of coolant leak or coolant in the oil. Likely a loose clamp that only seeps at full throttle. This still bugs me I and I want to fix it.
- Check panel light illuminates for low beams due to resistance difference of the H4/H1 lights with harness and relays.
- Driver’s side rear corner had rust issues. I gently tapped the bumper against my daughter’s Audi, and the bumper support pushed right into the sheetmetal, it was incredibly rusted. I talked to several shops, who didn’t want to do the car without repainting and blending the whole back section, which would then require repainting the whole car. I wasn’t going to sink $7-9000 into the car for a full repaint, so I opted to buy a welder, teach myself how to use it, and did a repair myself (welding and painting with factory match color, generous use of bondo). While it looks OK from outside and is sound, it will eventually rust again. Fixing it right will cost $1500-2000 but parts are available and I have at least one of the metal panels needed. If I were going to go through all that, I would do a euro conversion at the same time. Pretty much every e28 has some amount of rust, even if you can’t see it. I’ve seen Bay Area cars with fully rotted A pillars, and this back corner is an issue on almost every e28 that has seen road salt. All other rust on the car has been neutralized/repaired as much as possible. It’s far from a rust bucket, but it has rust.
Dash has very slight cracking (yet it’s one of the better e28 dashes I’ve ever seen)
- Clearcoat is failing in many places. It photographs very well but in normal light you can see hazing/white marks in the clearcoat.
- Sunroof works but the fabric on the inside of the sunroof is coming unglued, so I don’t ever use it.
- Floor mats are not original (coco and weathertech mats included) as they are no longer made
- Radio in there now is not the original (I have the original). I bought this one because the cassette was said to work perfectly, but while it works, it actually speeds up the tape a bit.
- 1-2 rock chips on the (original) windshield. They have not expanded at all. OE glass from BMW has recently become available again.
- Incredibly original, unmolested car that starts in any weather, runs and drives well.
- A/C works!
- Rare sport (coarse) steering wheel worth $500
- Like new tires on refinished Style 7 wheels
- Good power for an old diesel, easily does 90-100mph for hours
- I will include 3 boxes of spares including original wheels and tires, original steering wheel, spare fuel pump, injectors, cluster and too many other things to list. Enough oil and fuel filters to last you a year or more.
- Will include original books, window sticker, brochures, Bentley manual, shop manual PDF.
- This is probably the most original, lowest mile 524td you will ever find. I’ve used it sparingly, only to go to car shows. I have had 3 long distance shows planned and had to miss all three (the most recent due to covid). I am dying to take a long road trip in it and may still do that before I sell it.
Why I’m selling it:
Covid, WFH, too many other projects (like an Alfa Spider). If I keep it, I want to convert it to a 5 speed and install a bigger turbo and intercooler. I just don’t have time for that