With a V8 theres a few things that you check for. Ofcourse drive it first, then check for leaks.
Engine wise, valve cover gaskets, intake and valley pan gaskets. Also water pumps arnt very fun to do on V8's.
Bring a flashlight with you and theres one spot infront of the intake that you can see below it. If you see coolant, your gonging to need to change your valley pan, and intake gaskets. They arnt the best jobs for a back yard mechanic, more dealership like work since you have to remove the rear coolant duct and a hell of alot of wires from the engine harness.
If you get the chanch to put it up in the air, check all the suspensions, E39's are always getting suspension work, as do the E38's.
Other then engine and suspension everything else which goes wrong with E39's is mostly maintnence, brakes, tires oil changes ect.
17 grand isnt a bad price but Ive seen better, if its really what your looking for then.
ANd check this out, heres a little bit of the history from the dealership it was serviced from.
VIN: WBADN5348X GC93078
Model Code: 9953 DN53
Model Desc: 540i
Engineering Series: E39
Motor Type: M62
Color Code: 317 (Orient Blue Metallic)
Trim Code: N6SN (Sand Leather)
Production Date: 1999/05
Customer Name: MR. DAVID L BUTLER
Customer Address 11478 MUIRFIELD TRCE
FISHERS IN 46037-8227
BMW Assist Expiration Date: / /
TCU ESN: 0
Retail Dealer: 86416
Retail Date: 05/29/1999
Wholesale Dealer: 86416
Wholesale Date: 05/29/1999
NEW VEHICLE WARRANTY
No Coverage As Of: 05/29/2003
Expiration Miles: 50,000
SCHEDULE MAINTENANCE 0036000
No Coverage As Of: 05/29/2002
Expiration Miles: 36,000
Code Description Code Description
0522 xenon headlights 0508 Park Distance Control
0648 100% OPTIONS 0494 heated front seats
0971 5 SERIES MATS 0609 navigation system
0465 fold down rear seats 0416 rear electric sunshade
RO # Claim Repair Date Entry Date Mileage Dealer Service Code Location
209222 95475 06/13/2003 06/17/2003 63,172 27600 0012380100 01
94086 26801 06/13/2001 07/06/2001 34,935 86416 0023030100 01
84735 22331 09/14/2000 10/13/2000 23,044 86416 5220156500 01
80504 19150 04/03/2000 04/07/2000 15,395 86416 10320105SP
73967 15382 08/09/1999 09/01/1999 3,300 86416 6312097700 01