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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • ghomazghomaz Posts: 68
    Hello all. I have decided to go in for a Certified Pre-Owned BMW. My budget is $30K. I now have to decide which "series" to buy. Personally, I like the 5 series but is there a significant difference in maintenance and ownership costs between the 3, 5 and 7 series? This is going to be a second car so interior space, trunk volume, etc. are not decision factors. Thanks for your help
  • gearmangearman Posts: 30
    The 5 series is a nice compromise between vehicle size and cost, Since the 5 series or 3 series small dimensions are not factor in your decision, then, other factors being equal, you are likely to find a lower mileage / better conditioned three series than the more expensive when new 5 or 7 series cars. If you're going with an automatic, you'll also get the benefit of having the GM produced box in the 3 and 5 series, rather than having to deal with the ZF box (subject of NHTSA recalls and premature failures; see various posts on that topic, here and elsewhere). Another reliablity advantage of the 3 and 5 series is that you'll be able to enjoy the subline smoothness of the renowned BMW inline 6 cylinder engines (iron block or sleeve depending on the year) and avoid the higher-mileage maintainence & wear issues that have plagued many owners of the V-8 and V-12 aluminum block engined cars.

    As you can probably tell, I'd recommend the 5 series. It's a great car.
  • blumrlnblumrln Posts: 11
    Gearman, Where can I find more info on the ZF box
    I currently own a 1997 740i with 60k and am experincing trans trouble.
  • ghomazghomaz Posts: 68
    Thanks for your advice gearman.
  • blumrlnblumrln Posts: 11
    Anyway, Gearman can you supply me with more ZF trans info.
    bimmer roadfly is just another bs chat room
  • force98force98 Posts: 81
    You have obviously never participated there. I have owned an E38 for over 4 years and have had better luck at times getting technical questions answered there than from my dealership technicians. They also have a certified ZF technician on the board who answers trans related questions. He even provides his phone number so you can call him for assistance. Here's a sample:
  • harry0harry0 Posts: 42
    I have a 6 yr,100,000 warranity on my 98 740il.(currently 30,600 miles on my car).
    I just had a service 2 done on 10/8/02...Not under warranity. Here is what mine cost.
    5.9 hours labor at 80. per....472.00
    Parts ........................370.00
    8 sparkplugs @15.62 ea........124.96
    1 air filter insert...........22.16
    1 Filter element..............12.30
    1 Fuel Filter.................25.20
    2 Filter @63.18...............126.36
    1 Seal Ring...................0.14
    1 Lt Diff Oil.................18.07
    8 Oil 5w30 Synthetic@4.71.....37.68
    2 Clamps@0.88.................1.76
    1 washer solvent..............1.66
    I also had coolant flush done..80.00 labor-16.47 antifreeze..96.47
    I had brake flush done also 0.60 hrs...48.00 labor-3.84 brake fluid-4.08 cleaner. 55.92 total
    Haz waste fee 6.50
    Also had rear window lifter replaced..1.5 hrs labor..N/C warranty
    I hope this gives you a good idea what to expect.
  • bobl6bobl6 Posts: 2
    #693--For cup holders, you might like to try "" Include the hyphen.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    For those who may not have noticed, the Edmunds editors are conducting a long term road test on the 2002 745Li.

    You'll find a link to the series in the "Helpful Links" box on the left side of the page. There is a link within that article to the most recent update.

  • I am new to the site so please direct me to the proper forum if this is not the place to post these remarks.

    I purchased the New 745 Li in June.

    I had leased a 740 iL and drove it for the three year lease period. I loved the car. I did not have a single maintinence or repair issue in the 50K miles I drove the car.

    The 745 Li is a wonderful driving car and I believe it is actually superior to the 740 in handling, braking and power. However, the dealer has had the car in it's shop for almost a month (total elapsed time) since I received the car in June. I have never had these problems before with any of the 7 series car I have driven and I am curious if anyone else has experienced any of these problems:

    The Computer freezes at times and requires several re-starts of the engine to unfreeze. BMW has re-programmed the car twice.

    The radio goes off and on at random times.

    The motor occasionally idles rough at start up.

    The rear sun screens do not always work.

    The head restraint on both front seats go all the way to the top of their settings automatically if you move the seat fore or aft. BMW claims this is normal. this never was a "normal" feature on any other BMW I have driven.

    The cruise control does not function as the manual describes. Many of the adjustment features do not work.

    The back of the gear shift enclosure fell off and had to be replaced.

    There is a vibration in the steering wheel that is noticeable but BMW does not have a fix for at the present time.

    Many of the features on the Cell Phone Computer display are not working and some of the call lists etc..are frozen and can not be changed or deleted.

    Anyone else have these problems???

    Steve Ludwig
    St Simon's Island, Ga.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    Steve, I haven't bought one yet (and won't for at least another year). The service mgr. at my dealership admitted that they have been plagued by software problems. Other than the apparent defects with the gearshift and the steering vibration, the problems you describe are likely directly related to that issue. The headrest explanation is plausible - there are sensors that adjust them during crashes, so the positional movement may trigger that.

    I think this car is vastly superior to the competion in many ways, but I won't touch one until they sort out the computer software issues. The 745, unfortunately, is a sober reminder of how first-year models can test your patience, especially a model like this that is so radically re-designed (especially the technology aspects).

  • A top U.S. daily needs drivers of the BMW series 7 to share their experiences and be named in the story. If you are an avid Series 7 driver and would love to talk about your car, please email me at Deadline is by Monday October 28 at 5:00p.m. EST

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Just wanted to share my experience with my June build 2002 745Li purchased one month ago. I have had zero problems with the car. No software bugs whatsoever. Drives beautifully, leaves one with a tremendous sense of control and confidence. The most comfortable car I've ever owned. Overall, a delight!
  • sltools,
    feel lucky. in addition to all the minor things you mentioned my 02 745i has had the engine replaced (yes the entire engine) and now a horrible sound is coming from the steering column during some turns. this latest problem the dealer has reproduced and does not know what to do.

    i live in a small town with only one other 02 745i and his engine completely quit working and had to be replaced as well.

    i can understand a few defects with a new model gets introduced, but this is ridiculous for 70K. we got at lexus gs 400 its first year of production and 0 problems. i got a honda s2000 its first year of production and 0 problems. i got the new bmw 01 M3 convert. and it had many problems. i now have a 03 M3 coupe and all the problems have been solved except for horrible radio reception (the 745i radio reception sucks too).
  • jimdojimdo Posts: 2
    I have 37,000 miles on my 2000 740iL and had to replace a cracked radiator. Does anyone have any experience with this problem on this car?
  • sosaksosak Posts: 5
    I have 98,500 on my 7 series and my engine light has come on and BMW has told me that I need "2" new catalytic convertor on my car. I problem is that each one cost $840 ($1680 for two) plus a few parts needed which totals $2,071.00 for this repair. I recently bought this vehical a few months back with no problems for $16,800 and have not put any large amount of money into it. Catalytic Convertor warranty is 8 yrs/80,000.

    Does anyone have any idea if this is reasonable and if I should look into selling this car? If I add this repair my actual cost of the car would be 18,871.

    Can I go somewhere else and possible get a lower cost?

    I just can't see myself putting this amount of money into this vehical and something else major happening to it like Transmisson, etc.

    Any ideas? Is it worth it? Are there more problem to come about with a '97 740 iL?

    Thank you!
  • I pick up my new 745Li tomorrow morning. Like several of you, I order a 745Li last year. I didn't like the look, and I let the negative press drive me away. I didn't take delivery when it arrived. My dealer sold it, and I got my deposit back. I had a 95 740iL that was having it's own set of problems, so I bought an LS430. While it is a very nice car, it is boring. So, after driving the new S500, which is also nice, but is too similar to the LS430 (which I realize is actually the other way around), I retreated to the BMW dealer to pick another 745Li out of the incoming delivery. I pray that I am as lucky as jhegarty. The new 7 doesn't appeal to everyone, and I certainly would have made a few changes to the look. But, it has to be one of the most fun cars I have ever driven.
  • Cracked radiators is a known and recurring problem with the E38. The neck is made of plastic, which cracks. I've heard some say BMW will blame the owner and technicians, saying they lean on the neck and cause the problem. I take it yours was repaired under warranty, since the car has only 37K miles on it?

    As far as catalytic converters, contact John@bekkers (

    You can also find them at for less than $400 each.

  • jimdojimdo Posts: 2

    Thanks for the info, you are right on the mark. The neck cracked, and yes, it was repaired under warranty.
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