E50 E50 Buying Guide


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E50 Owner
Premium Member
E50 Expert
E50 Diesel Buying Guide, but a few points are similar to petrol.

Make sure there’s no noise from the power steering pump, a short wheezing noise is an early sign of bearing wear.

Ask the seller to check alternator as these can sources of trouble or take a test meter with you and check it has around 14+ volts output across the battery with the engine on.

Timing belts are not an issue as they don’t have one, it’s all gear driven timing which is superb.

Check that all tyres are good and that they are high load around 720 max load is okay, higher is better, some dealers cheat and fit cheap tyres which you will have to replace.

Listen for knocking/clunking sound underneath when driving on rough roads or potholes, worn drop links cause this.

Look for uneven tyre wear, worn ball joints and or poor wheel alignment can cause this.

Also do check if it has aftermarket wheels fitted, that it has spigot rings (hub centric rings), to suit as many imports with aftermarket wheels don’t have them. Firstly it’s going to nullify your insurance if they find out and an MOT failure could result if the examiner spots it and secondly you will always have problems with wheel balancing when spigot rings are not fitted where needed. And of course as the vehicles whole weight is carried on the wheel studs in this situation, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Check it starts easily every time form cold or hot, the wiring loom to the heater plugs can wear causing problems, not too hard to fix this one though.

Make the dealer change all filters and fluids, engine oil (5/40 synthetic best) diff 75/90 and atf dexron 111 is fine but the newer titan 4400 from Opie oils is better, and finally the fuel filter is a must to change its located under the drivers foot well.

Ask the seller to check the rubber turbo inlet hose beneath the air filter housing as these frequently split and cost over £100 each, though Samco now offer a copy.

Elgrands are only available in automatic so make sure Overdrive and all gears are smooth and almost imperceptible, Note overdrive does not in until engine warms up should kick in okay after a few miles driving from cold.

Pay very close attention to how the engine runs once warm these motors have a very common problem. If it has any hesitation, missing or judder is felt make sure dealer corrects it as if it’s not injectors or pumps it could be the TPS( Throttle Position Sensor) which is also expensive to replace, let the dealer address any faults found prior to you collecting the vehicle, as some will not follow up thoroughly afterwards.

Listen for noises from the side door when going over bumps etc, as the running gear wears , it can be adjusted but takes a little effort, ditto for rear tailgate which has a little adjustment and any noise is usually down to seals which again are expensive.

Make sure the battery is in good condition as they need at least 780 amp hour unit with at least 90 cranking and are not cheap.

Hand brake cables can snap usually the rear sections but these where a Nissan recall job, so should be done, yellow paint dab on rear horizontal struts denotes.

Look out for brake judder once brakes get hot (not apparent when cold) this will be disc imprinting usually the result of crap pads; discs will need skimming or replacing.

Suspension struts can be worn so watch out for ducking and diving over lumpy roads and do take the kids , the dog and the kitchen sink on a test drive that will show up the rear as it will bottom the shocks at speed on bad surfaces.

Finally, drive it like you stole it once bought, give it everything you can throw at it in the first few weeks. Any slight niggles report them on the forum that way you can

determine whether they might get serious later and whether they should be warranty items. This needs doing quickly to ensure you get every possible problem resolved within the warranty period which saves on costs later, but as these are getting older vehicles now it’s more than likely to be a private sale in which case it,s more important to find any problems on viewing and test driving it.


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E50 Owner
Premium Member
Excellent guide there @Rapperfrapper. May I add that these vehicles, now getting on in age, all need a thorough check for rust. Get underneath and look everywhere for signs and don't be afraid to have a good prod about with your fingers (nothing sharp as it's still someone's property!) on areas like the sills. Look for springing metal which may indicate it's rusting from the inside out.