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BMW 7-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • I hope this post benefits someone interested in getting a 7 Series.
    If you want a money pit of a car that constantly tugs at your wallet - get this car. If you want a high end car that is less costly to maintain --you might want to consider the following..

    We purchased a 2006 750Li around 3 years ago CPO from the local dealership, we paid around 5-7K more at a BMW Houston North /dealer for CPO - The car in Nov 2008 went for 45K and had 35K miles. Black-on-black.

    There is no doubt that the ride is phenomenal. The car weighs as much as a house.
    Friends, and acquaintances will treat you different in a high end car likes this (A8,500S, LS460,Inf 56, etc). I've been called sir more times than not in part due to this car. Heck some of the time depending on your personality, and propensity to self reflect-- to this car can affect your mood. Now these are all good things except...

    1) around 8 months and 9,000 miles on the car, it needed a new set of tires. That is right, this car is so heavy that it can run through tires in around 10-15K miles.
    2) The BMW dealerships seem to consider maintenance even on CPO a revenue center, within a year a regularly scheduled maintenance came out to around $400.
    3) Brakes were around $2,000 - normal wear and tear.
    4) then came the second set of tires - $960
    5) There are a few other repair items including a water pump, each time the cost was never lower than $600.
    6) CPO warranty never paid for any of this wear/tear items...
    7) The CPO warranty was basically worthless to us.
    6) Fast forward to 2 months ago, not even 3 years of ownership.. We found that when the transmission got hot, it did some weird things. We attempted to get it fixed by someone other than the BMW-dealer (reputable - not sure now) for $1850. The mechanic could not fix it, the problem persisted and I was out $1850.
    7) These are the items I can remember. There are more.

    That's it, I threw my hand up and sold the thing -->Wholesale..

    Would things have been different had I purchased a 2006 LS430. No Doubt, 100%.
    I would still have the car and it would not have cost me 20% of what I paid to maintain the 750Li.

    Buy the 7 Series Brand new and drive it til the original warranty wears out. CPO is a marketing.

    If you still want a 7 series after this.. Only know that I wish someone would have told me this before I bought my 7 Series. :lemon:
  • I don't know. I've been pretty satisfied with my 98 750i, although I know its a pretty different car.
    No way will this car compare to a Japanese car for mile after mile durability. If you have a big commute--no way.
    German engineering is overrated. There, I've said it.
    My dealer isn't bad. Wife spent $5
  • I don't know. I've been pretty satisfied with my 98 750i, although I know its a pretty different car.
    No way will this car compare to a Japanese car for mile after mile durability. If you have a big commute--no way. If you have modest annual mileage, a desire for luxury transportation for a low overall cost, its fine. The massive massive five year depreciation on this car makes this a reasonable purchase. Mine cost $12K when it was seven years old, down from 100K new.
    German engineering is overrated. There, I've said it.
    My dealer isn't bad. Wife spent $500 replacing windshield wipers at dealer on Mercury Marquis. Tune up cost $800 and manifold replacement cost $2000.My BMW guy is probably better than that. Get familiar with the various BMW forums. Those guys are major gearheads and they know exactly how to maintain the car for the most economic price.
    I use Kumho Platinum tires I got from Tirerack. Can't remember the price, but it was perfectly fair.
    Yes, it is a vault. I LOVED having my teenage daughter drive this car.
  • Porion - CPO doesn't cover service but covers repairs such as the water pump you mentioned. Why were you paying >$600 for "repairs"? CPO also should cover the transmission, so is the CPO expired?

    If your car had summer tires they wear fast - just replace them with a longer-wear type.
  • I have heard many rumors that owning a 750LI in general will cost you tons of money due to all the maintenance that is needed. One problem that I've heard of many times is "electrical" issues, especially with the 750LI's.

    Just curious to know if anyone has experienced an electrical issues with a 2009 BMW 750LI CPO? Are these issues covered in an extended warranty contract?

    Thanks,!
  • Momentum - are you looking at an extended warranty or a CPO car that comes with one? Assuming you are more concerned about the price of repairs versus service costs, most extended plans outside of CPO have several levels of coverage. I priced a few out as I recently bought a 2008, and electrical components may be covered completely, partly, or not at all depending on the plan. Not surprisingly, the plans with the most complete coverage cost more. For example, the plan from the BMW dealer only covered the NAV and audio system if you bought the most inclusive plan.

    You need to read the complete coverage of the plan before deciding which plan, if any, is worth the money. Some of the plans might specify what they *don't* cover, which is helpful. Most plans offer coverage levels labeled with names like "silver", "gold" and "platinum", with ascending prices, of course.

    If you buy the CPO car examine the coverage (in print) to make sure you know what you're getting. A 7-series has a LOT of electrical components and is complex, so on the average you're more likely to have electrical issues sometime compared to, say, a simpler car such as a Toyota Yaris or similar car with less electrical components. That doesn't mean you'll necessarily have a lot of problems, but the possibility is greater.
  • I'm beginning to have a few on my 2008 750i. It's still in warranty but before I take it to the dealer I'd like to ask if anyone else has seen this "behavior" on others so I might possibly save time with multiple trips and trial-and-error diagnosing there.

    For the first few months I've owned it no issues, but recently I noticed in the mornings that the soft-close doors weren't working. And at the same time the CD changer had reverted to the FM radio tuner when I started the car, even though I had turned it off the previous day with the changer engaged. (It's in a garage so I ruled out temperature) Once I started the car the soft-close doors worked fine. The problem is intermittent, but this AM the interior lights were ALL off when I opened the door, the soft-close feature didn't work, and the radio had reset again. When I saw the lights not working I thought the battery might be dead, but the car started fine.

    And oh by the way, I've had a problem with the driver's window not moving down. At first I thought it was the switch or maybe the motor, but after about 5 episodes of this I think I managed to get it working AFTER moving one of the other windows first, so I suspect some system the window may be tied to.

    My car appears to be more confused than me. Any observations?
  • follow-up: took to Indy and it took 3 guys to align the bolt and push through. Maybe an aberration? thanks for the reply.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    Are you the original owner? I've heard of this kind of problem when a car was in a previous accident. The unibody gets every so slightly torqued.

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  • You are right about the accident on front passenger side as it may have caused the unibody problem. Good catch.
  • 2001 740i with recent new ignition coils, fuel filter, plugs, BG44K fuel system cleaner, and CPS sensors about 2 years ago. Checked for air pressure leaks on hoses, and lower small hose from the MAF boot on right side of boot was split at the connection point. I put duct tape around it to see if it would help before replacing. Problem still there. Could this cause my rough idle after starting and warming up car to where initial high idle of 1000 rpms returns down to 600 rpm and then fluctuates from 600 to 650 and car front shakes alittle? What is on the other side of this small hose that it connects to?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    Well if you have had one vacuum leaks there could be others, so yeah, vacuum leaks create all kinds of air/fuel mixture issues.

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  • Could you tell me where the other end of the connection goes from that MAF small hose? I could send a picture if you're not sure what I'm referring to... thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    No, not without a car in front of me. Have you pulled any trouble codes?

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  • trouble codes have all the markings of a vacume leak; misfires, CPS, and maybe one other; I have noted a web posting on your site that had a similar problem with same codes and they leaned towards a vacume leak. I sprayed brake cleaner on MAF fitting and it did seem to change the idle speed, that is why I was wondering if you knew the purpose of the 2 connections off the right side of the MAF as you are facing it. I've been to two Indys already and trying to avoid going back to them or to a third as I've already gone through plugs, ignition coils (my call) fuel injector cleaner, and I am skeptical that its a CPS problem. Is there a way to attach a picture to my post?">
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    edited February 2012
    Yes, but the photo has to be hosted, and have a URL. We can't upload directly from your computer's hard drive. But if you post the photo on Photobucket or Tinypic or any of the free photo hosting sites, then you do this:

    Capture the URL of your photo

    then, in the "post a messsage" box, click on the blue tab at the bottom marked URL---then paste in the URL of your photo, and then click on URL once again to close the script.

    Your photo should appear.

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  • Mr. Shiftright,

    I have 1998 740IL and I've had all of the problems above, plus the radio and horn went out. The steering wheel is telescoping while driving and the interior lights come on and off while driving. I understand it's the General Control Unit. There's supposed to be a recall, but I don't know where to find that infomation.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    Ah well, there's a list of electrical failure TSBs on this car as long as my arm, but none that I can find that have ALL your symptoms.

    But here is the NHSTA site for searching for Technical Service Bulletins---maybe there's something in there to give you a clue.

    Search for TSBs

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  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It worked. I've had 3 excellent Lexus LSes, 02, 05, 09. Not a wimper out of any of them. But, my buddy let me drive his 2011 7 Series yesterday, and WOW! Was I impressed!! The cameras, the features, the comfort, the vault like quiet, the feather like smoothness, and most of all, the DRIVE. Unbelievable! Now I get it, what the big whoop is about BMW.

    HOWEVER, your post has given me pause - even great pause, because I have had friends who have told me never again, a BMW. Figured they were nervous nellies, but perhaps not.

    Incidently, my buddy is turning his 2011 back under the Lemon Law Buyback because of electrical glitches they can't seem to fix. Guess that should be my first sign, and your message my final sign. Thanks for the info. My Lexus drives like warm wallpaper paste, but it does it every day without complaint. And I like that.
  • The service engine codes for this problem are the following: misfires on 50-57 with the exception of 56. 114-thermostat control connector/sensor. Pigtail received excessive heat and melted a connection. 140-? 28, 29, 64

    MAF sensor, Cam Pos. Sensor, checked for vacum leaks and found none. Spark plugs are not stock; when originally changed out with "stock" plugs, these stock plugs were not tightened down allegedly and stock plugs were fouled as a result so assumption was that the problem might be in the fouled plugs and they were replaced with new platinum plugs. Will the previous "fouled" plugs be worth putting back in? Can a bad control module cause all these codes and symptoms; I've had a frequent intermittent case of the ABS, Brake and DSC lights come on and disable my odometer, speedometer, and create some loss of power steering capability. I replaced driver side rear speed sensor to no avail. CPS sensors on both driver and passenger sides were replaced about a year ago. Drivers side is showing error code. Should I replace anyway?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    Frankly I wouldn't even know where to begin when these older 7 series start acting up. They seem possessed.

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  • Are you serious? That's it! I've read alot of posts from people asking for advice and I've seen alot of great advice given by you and others....but that's your response to my request for help when I send you the error codes you asked for? You certainly knew where to begin on the 7 series with numerous other problems that were brought to your attention. I don't mind that you've chosen to give up and not take a shot at it, but what a lame, cop-out way of doing it. I really thought you had more pride in yourself than that. I'd say thanks, but from your response it would be undeserved. Sorry to all the fans that idolize you and you've helped in the past, but a simple, "I don't have a clue" would have been better.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    edited February 2012
    Well that's what I meant to say, perhaps badly (sorry). I simply don't know how to solve this for you, especially without a car in front of me. I'm not a BMW technician. I'm a generalist who can only take analysis of problems so far by remote internet.

    I did re-read your post and you didn't ask me for the trouble codes definitions---you seem to be asking me if I thought the control module was causing all these faults, and my response was--I have no idea.

    If I *were* a BMW specialist and if I had the car in front of me, sure I'd test the wiring harness to the control module for faults using something like ALLDATAPRO or some other BMW database.

    Simply put, this is beyond my area of expertise. I have no desire to waste your time and money by me giving you guesses without a sound basis.

    I hope you understand and sorry to disappoint.

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  • My apologies also for the mis-understanding. I do appreciate your honesty and frankness as the main purpose is now clear that you wanted to not send me on a wild goose chase.
    However, there is some good news at this point that one problem was found that has (so far) eliminated the codes and corrected most of the rough idle problem (still need to replace CPS driver side-was under warranty); the pigtail to the electric thermost connector/sensor had a melted wire but the sensor itself had been replaced recently, so instead of replacing the entire unit, a fix to the pigtail was done and it seems to have solved most of the issue thus far. A new one for the books? I now know that we don't have to cut you to see if you're human as there actually are some things that stump you, but it was the first time I saw it happen. Sorry again for my impatience and frustration. Your still amazing at most of your diagnosis/suggestions.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    yeah many of my friend's issues with his 750iL electrical gremlins were related to wiring harness degradation, so I'm not surprised to hear of your discovery, and no, I don't think it's all that unusual on this series of car. I spent 3 whole days re-wiring the junction boxes under his passenger floorboards and that fixed some, but not all, of his ongoing electrical problems. One time it was a defect in his crankshaft sensor wiring harness---that was a $3000 nightmare.

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  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yet another testimonial that scares the hell out of me! I'll stay with Lexus, handling be damned - I can't handle the stress of "nightmares" like those heretofore described. Outta here! Best wishes to all. :surprise:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    I think as long as you're under warranty, you might enjoy a 7 series---they are fabulous cars to drive---nothing like them in their class. But when warranty is up, one should consider moving on.

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  • If you buy an older series that has lost alot of its initial value then you also will be alright provided you have a back-up car when the 7 series is in the shop. You won't be as mad about spending the $$ on repairs though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,018
    That strategy might work with the V8 model but not with the V-12 I don't think. you can spend $1800 for a brake job on one of those, no problem.

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  • dfaveladfavela Posts: 1
    I have alot of little things wrong with my 1997 740i.... I need to find someone that can help me with some repairs that wont charge me a arm and a leg! Anyone know anyone or anywhere in AZ?

    Thanks
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