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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Did you check with a dealer to see if your car has had the engine block replacement that was common with early V8's? It might have been one that slipped through the cracks, so to speak. I'm not sure if BMW would replace it if it hasn't been replaced, but it wouldn't hurt to check. As far as getting a used engine goes, you don't know what you're getting. Besides, a new shortblock replacement is going to be your best bet if you keep the car for a long time. Most dealerships have techs that have done enough of them, that the car will be done correctly and your car won't be down for extended periods of time.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    If you can get a shortblock replaced with a new one for $5500 you're in business. I wouldn't wait till it fails though, as you risk possible damage to other engine parts not included with the shortblock (depending on how it fails). I still think you need to consider whether it's worth large repair bills, though. At this point the car is worth well under $10k wholesale.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    So, how long can one expect to get reasonably good service out of a 7, before one has to be concerned about losing an engine? I am very much interested and considering a 7 to replace one of my cars soon, but you folks are scaring me to death with all this talk of shortblock damage and replacements. I'm not interested in rebuilding, just driving and maintaining.
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    If you stay away from the Nikasil engines, you should be ok. They are common in the '95MY but BMW replaced many of those. I have had no major problems with my '00MY 740iL (61k miles). I had to replace a sensor but that is it (common ones are O2, CPS). The radiators are a common problem area. Most people replace them every 60k miles as a preventative maintenance item because when it goes, it might leave you stranded. At around 80k miles, I'm told that the control arm bushings may be an issue.
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    My personal choice would be to go with the '01. I don't see the mileage between the two as being a significant issue. These engines can easily go 200k miles with the proper maintenance.

    The '01 also gives you the 16:9 nav screen (production date after 9/00), standard Motorola Timeport cell phone, body colored skirting, xenon lights, rain sensing wipers, headlight washer nozzles, DSP stereo with cassette in the dash and 6 disk changer in the trunk.

    Also, the '01 looks newer than the '98 (BMW did a mild makeover in '99). The makeover consists of scalloped headlights, chrome trunk strip (except sport), crystallized taillamps, door scoop illumination and updated side skirts.

    Also, the '99MY on up has the VANOS variable valve timing and increased torque.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    nvbanker: BMW also has an 8-yr 80k warranty on the emissions systems which is not commonly known. This includes the catalytic converters, which is good since they are $$$$. If Goose's sensor was an O2 that may have been covered. As Goose said, I wouldn't be too worried about post-95 engines, but it would be nice to see service records..

    Brewcrew: The features Goose listed on the 01 are available as options on the 98, except the 16:9 size NAV and rain-sensing washers. You could check the 98 for those listed. But for the price difference the 2001 looks like a better deal, assuming they are both in "like" condition. The 30k looks good for the 01 and the 26k is a little high for the 98, but without seeing the cars it's difficult to be accurate. You did say the 01 had the Sport pkg., I think, so you have a few cosmetic differences in addition to the ones mentioned by Goose.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Good to know. What is the rest of the warranty coverage like? And how does the dealer step up on wierd things? I've been amazed at how responsive my Lincoln dealer has been on little things that I expected a dodge or at least a fight on.... It's important to me when I pay this much for a car.
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    Standard warranty is 4yrs/50k miles. If it's CPO'ed then it's 2/50 on top of the std. The attitude of the dealers vary, depending on the dealer. For example, if I call dlr A in my area (Boston) and tell them that my code reader says I need a new O2 sensor, they will tell me it's not covered under the 8/80 emissions. When I call dlr B, they say it is covered.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    That's pretty normal....sadly. Our dealer here doesn't have a great reputation on the street for "fair dealing" either, but mostly probably training & ignorance.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    Crevier BMW out in CA has about the best prices on parts.. I remember that Short Blocks can be had for under $2,000. You'd be hard pressed to buy a used Alusil Short block for that. BE CAREFUL BUYING A USED M60 ENGINE! Unless it has the 745 (IIRC) casting number, then it IS a Nikasil (BAD) block!!!

    And you can get a short block swapped for about 25 hours at $40/hr if you shop around... That's $1200 or so labor.. maybe $1500-1600.. but that should do it. Figure $300-700 in extra new parts (Head gaskets, intake seals, engine mounts, might as well do a water pump and don't re-use that old timing chain..etc... "While yer in there type of stuff")

    97 740iL
  • I'm in the process of deciding on purchasing a 740IL probably the 2001 model. I had a great mechanic in Atlanta who worked on an older 535 that I drove for over 200K miles and he suggested the 530I over the 740 based on frequency of maintenance required on the 7 series. For me the 5 series is no bigger than my wife's Honda and I get the size and the performance in the 7 for not much more money than the 02 530. I found an 01 740il at a dealer in Addison, TX for 10K less than what most folks are asking and it was loaded. Any suggestions on things to look for on this model or a reputable dealer or mechanic in the area ?
  • sboothesboothe Posts: 4
    I've decided to keep my vehicle even though it has one of the M60 Nikasil liners engines I realize the wholesale value is ~10k or less; however, the interior and exterior are in excellent condition. Since 23 Apr of this year, I've completed the following repairs: replace fuel pump (included diagnosis, troubleshooting and labor for $600); replace both sides leaking valve cover gaskets and all bolts seals, renew coolant, replace oil & filter and spark plugs ($700); and replaced all drive belts, engine mounts, power steering return&supply hoses/seals/gaskets (including diagnose - $1400). Things still needing to be repaired front thrust strut mounts (estimate $650), center steering link ($650), and tie rod ($400). Oh forgot $1000 for new A/C system in 2002 when I bought vehicle (I thought this was the only thing wrong with the vehicle). I have been getting my repairs done at a local Va Bch dealership and found their prices to be very comparatible to another independent repair shop. I'm not bitter - I love the looks of the vehicle and it drives well. According to BMW dealership, not all Nikasil liner engine blocks go bad. The recent rough idleing I was experiencing could have been due to two injectors that were mistakenly recoupled during one of the previous repair events.

    Thanks to all those above who have provided feedback; especially, the individual who says I can get a new short block for less than $2k (brentwoodvolvo). Please provide additional info for obtaining this block. I might purchase and put in storage since as you can see I now have invested heavily in the continued life of this vehicle. Bottomline - I'm committed to keeping it for a very long time and want it to be in excellent/like new running condition.

    A friend provided me with a lead for hyperlink for Zionauto ( which is where I obtained fiscal data on $2400 new short block (plus couple hundred shipping). 40 man/hr estimate provided by local independent repair shop specializing in BMWs.
  • muddogmuddog Posts: 26
    It's been 16 years, but I used to take my 7 series to Joe Priore, who had a shop near Love Field. Don't know if he's still around.

  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    The radiators/expansion tanks are prone to fail/leak. Also, check for any power steering or oil leaks. Control arm bushings are another one as well as O2 sensors. Most of these last to about 60k miles or so.
  • cmeskiicmeskii Posts: 3
    You have FINALLY made it!!! A BMW in the garage, and you are indeed a proud person.
    Sleep comfortably.. with the thought that a Buick is a better built vehicle than yours is...
  • kuselerkuseler Posts: 6
    Take a look at:

    The 7 face lift looks very sharp, they must be listening at BMW.

    We'll see how the un-screw the new 5 disaster?
  • eric312eric312 Posts: 71
    I recently bought a 2001 740I and I keep having random electronic problems with it. Just wondering if someone has experienced something similar. For example:
    1. When I press the button on the door the side mirrors do not close
    2. When the door is open I have to press and hold the memory button in order to get driver’s seat into programmed position. According to the manual I should only have to hold the button when the door is closed.
    3. Alarm does not unlock the doors until I unlock them with a key manually.
    4. If I leave the car parked with the front wheels turned, when I come back to the car and start driving the steering wheel is very stiff until I stop with the wheels straight and turn off the car for a few minutes.
    All of the above happens randomly so if I just go to the dealer I will not be able to demonstrate it to him.

    Three more “improvement” questions:
    1 Has anyone connected a later model Motorola phones to 740 instead of the old StarTec that it came with and how much did it cost?
    2. Where and for how much can I buy updated DVDs for navigation?
    3 Is it possible to watch TV and play DVD on the navigation screen?
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    The first two problems could be the switch cluster. The problem with the alarm could be the key battery being weak. Do you have a power steering leak? The later model phones will cost you about $1500-$1700 before installation, IF one is available. Call 1-866-NAV-TECH for the nav CD/DVD. I don't know if you can play regular DVD's, but you can't get a TV reciever to integrate with the nav unit.
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    You can get a TV receiver for the nav unit:
    The kit is about $1200 - $1300
    They also sell a DVD install kit as well.

    As far as the cell phone goes, BMW just introduced the Bluetooth kit for their current models. The word is that a retrofit kit will be available any day now for '01 5 & 7-series built after a certain date (unknown but the later the bld date, the better your chances of it working). Bluetooth will allow you to use all of the cars integrated cell phone features w/o having to spend $1500+ for the old CPT8000 BMW phone. It is just WLAN technology.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    BMW did introduce the Bluetooth in Europe. Not in the U.S. as yet. They will be an option later in the year, maybe in October. There has been no official word on when. Retrofit kits will most likely be introduced after the first of the year. I work in a BMW parts department, so I'm giving you the straight truth.
  • sdevsdev Posts: 7
    I am looking at buying a '98 740iL for $20k. It is on good condition inside and out, but has 79,000 miles, doesn't have a CD changer and needs new tires. Its CarFax report is clean. Anyone have experience out there with this vintage?

    How do I go about replacing the integrated phone on the center console with a storage tray?
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    Currently, BMW is filling orders here in the U.S. on Bluetooth for the 3, 5 & X5. They're working on the retrofit kit for the E38 7's.

    SDEV: Get the service history for the car. If the previous owner had it maintained at a BMW dlr, any BMW dlr can pull the records for you.

    Some things to look out for are the radiator (common for cracks to develop around the neck), water pump, and thrust arm bushings and ball joints.

    Personally, I would go with a '99 or newer since you get the VANOS and xenons. And w/ a '00 you get the nav and some other goodies as standard equipment.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Goose, please tell me where you are getting your info on the Bluetooth.
  • coo1coo1 Posts: 5
    Hi 7 owners/experts,
    I just purchased a 2002 745i demo with 3995 miles from an out of state dealer. While waiting for the car to be delivered, I had a few questions.
    1)I have only heard about the iDrive issues. So what should I expect and how can I get used to the system quickly?
    2)Is there a dealer in DC metro region who you would recommend based on quality of service? Especially since I am not buying from the local dealer.
    3)Any other tips and 'watch outs'.
  • What are the chances of a an owner of a 2001 740IL with a CPT7000 phone cradle being able to use the upcoming bluetooth upgrade kit. My car was built 10/2000. If the answer is slim and none, then how do I find an upgrade kit to upgrade my CPT7000 to a CPT8000 and find the CPT8000 phone also.
  • dansa2dansa2 Posts: 28
    Would like to purchase 99 or 00. How do the two years differ and how do the i and iL differ in the way each handles while driving? Is the back seat in the i comfortable?
  • dansa2dansa2 Posts: 28
    No need to reply. I know, read previous posts starting with the first, and I will.
    If you want to see a great chase scene featuring a 99' 735 with a v-12 check out the movie 'The Transporter'. Not sure if it is the i or iL, but it seemed to have the sport package because it was a stick shift.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421

    You can look up the differences between the two model years by clicking on the "Used" blue tab at the top of this page. And you can use the "search this discussion" feature on the page bar to look for messages here by any keywords you'd like.

    This is not an extremely active discussion, but someone may still show up who can give you some relevant thoughts.

    Meanwhile, check out some of the other discussions listed under the Make/Model search for 7-Series. You might drop by the High End Luxury discussion with this question and you might want to scan through some of the ones in the archives.

    Good luck!
  • wazoodawazooda Posts: 1
    I am looking at owning my first BMW - a 2001 740i.

    I plan on getting it from a dealer with an extended warranty... yet... I am concerned about the anecdotal information I have gotten from friends and family with BMW's who say the cost of repair is WAY more expensive than even Mercedes or Lexus.

    I'm curious for thoughts on this. I live in the Southern Calif. area and wonder if it is more a regional issue, a dealership issue, or if they are just incorrect.

    Thanks in advance,

  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    Read my previous post #816 regarding maintenance costs. Repairs, like most other cars are expensive if you go to the dealer. But if you have the BMW CPO extended warranty, you should have nothing to worry about. Find a good independent after the warranty runs out. If reliability is a key concern, then get a Lexus. If you are willing to trade-off some repair issues for excellent driving dynamics, then get the 7. This is not to say that these cars are prone to breaking down. I'm just saying that there are some known problem areas (radiator, control arm bushings, MID pixels, etc.)and if you buy one with the expectations of having to spend some $$$ at some point in time to fix these items, you should be ok.
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    The 2000 model year came standard with the premium package. This means that if you buy a '99 w/o the PP, you will miss out on the nav, dsp, xenons, headlight washers, & rain sensing wipers. The leg room in the iL is like a limo. It's great if you frequently transport tall (6'+) folks in the back seat.
  • aciampiaciampi Posts: 66
    Not to try and annoy anybody but I was wondering how people felt about the new look to BMW's and the idrive. Personaly I am not a fan of the new look of both the 7 and the new redesigned 5 series. In my opinion the previous generation was the all time best looking BMW. As far as the idrive goes I feel as though it is too complicated and too much.
    I have had both a '97 and '00 740iL, both were the absolute best car I have ever driven. The only vehicle to actualy impress me more was when I test drove an '02 745i. The acceleration and handeling was just unbelievable, and I would be driving one today if the didn't complicate that idrive and take away the center console shifter. Also and correct me if I am wrong but I believe that BMW is missing the big picture here by not putting back the center console shifter and by the idea of installing a second idrive for back seat passengers for the owners children. It's bad enough the buyer has to sit through a 4 hour test just to be able to take your new car off the lot.
  • spiros2spiros2 Posts: 1
    Here is the question:

    I am looking into purchasing a certified pre-owned 2002 745Li at around 40K miles.

    I commute to work at about 100 miles a day round trip and notice that I put about 30K miles per year on any given car.

    Within 2 years, I would reach the 100K mile point and therefore run out of extended warranty.

    Several questions for you gurus:

    1) Should I spent $45K for this car knowing that I drive that much?
    2) What is the average maintenance cost ( not paying someone to go through checklists, but when something is really wrong ) with cars like this that would shock the pocket above the 100K mile range?
    3) What would I expect to trade in this car in 3 years from now with 130K miles on it? ( I am sure the dealers have not yet seen what could go wrong with this model as of yet ... Not many 745's could be above 100K at this time ).
    4) How difficult is it to locate qualified mechanics above the 100K dealer extended warranty point?

    Thanks !
  • Spiros2, are you saying you have found a 2002 with CPO for only 45K? Or that you would like to find one at that price? If you have found one, recognize that this is way under market and just jump on it. Then drive the wheels off it.
  • adobadob Posts: 18
    Anybody know when the 2004 models should hit the showrooms, and more importantly, what updates are planned?
  • I, like many others out there I'm sure, have just purchased a beautiful 2001 740iL. It has all of the bells and whistles, yet is missing the phone. I know this has to be a common problem and I have read some archived posts. I have yet to find the solution. I would like to think that one of the phone manufactures, and HOPEFULLY BMW has given this some thought and effort. Can anyone point me in the right direction to get a phone that will be compatible with my car systems? Thanks.
  • des1des1 Posts: 1
    I'm considering purchasing a used 2002 745i. Are there any particular problem areas I need to look out for?

    Should I maybe wait a bit for any of the 1st production year bugs to be worked out before getting the 745i?
  • I would talk to the former owner. I think that the first year had more than its share of lemons.
  • There were some software patches for the iDrive that it might need, but I don't think there were any real pervasive problems with the car. Best thing to do is get the service record for the car and see how it's done so far..DB
  • I am looking at buying a 1985 735i with 138,000 miles on it from the original owner. The body is in good shape. Carfax reports no problems. It drives well and the guy is only asking 2K. Is this a good deal or am I going to be eaten alive with repairs. The car will actually be for my two teenage drivers, so that is a factor. It does need new tires and the windshield has a star crack. I also will neeed to put in a CD player to pacify the kids. Let me know what you think.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,105
    I am not an expert, but one thing I'd do is call your local BMW or independent import shop and ask about the availability of parts. You're kind of looking to predict the future - what will go wrong and for how much, but in general, although BMWs can be reliable, the major repairs are going to be expensive. When you're looking at luxury or near luxury cars, this is generally the case, and they tend to require a lot of TLC.

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  • Two things you might want to do if you're seriouly considering this car is have it inspected by a mechanic to see if it needs anything else fixed other than the windshield in order to pass your local state inspection (and to get a general condition report). That will give you a good idea of the amount you'll have to invest up front. Also, you might want to get an estimate on that CD player. The stereo unit in that older model would probably have to be completely replaced. I don't know how old your kids are, but on the average teens are much harder on cars than older drivers, both mechanically and body-wise. And with two of them driving the car it's probably going to see a LOT of miles. I think you realistically should be prepared for high maintenance bills. OTOH, if it gets major problems you can always get rid of it and only be out a few grand...
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...would be - DO NOT DO THIS. An 18 year old car with 138 K miles, even if engineered and maintained by a holy diety of your choice is not going be a good buy.
  • Since there were a lot of questions asked about used 740I and since recently I was the one asking some of those questions on this board I figured I would share some of my recent experiences on buying 740I.
    A few months ago I bought a certified 2001 740I (that was originally sold in 2000) with 27,000 miles, sports package, convinience package and cold weather package for $43,000. The car is in great condition and is a lot of fun to drive. I would not go for the 740IL unless you really need the space in the back. I also think it is one of the best values outthere right now in this price category. The 2004 530I is $45,000 for base model according to Edmunds.
    Was anyone able to install a cell phone that is integrated with the 740's system?
  • It has 19k miles, and is in mint condition. Having never owned a Beemer, I am interested in seeing what anyone with knowledge of this particular car has to say.
    I can get it for $55,000. I know Edmunds has it listed way over that, but don't know if that's a "real world" appraisal. The car is owned by the owner of a local car dealership, and he had it specially ordered from BMW and paid $100k for it new. It even has the bullet resistent windows, and only 200 cars like it were built.

    It is a 12 cylinder, and gas mileage is a concern in that I drive 80 miles a day getting to work. I'm not rich, but can afford it with a trade in.

    Assuming I plan on keeping it for 2 years, and will be putting on 50k miles in that time, it would have approx 70k on it then.

    Is this a good of a deal as it sounds?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Try asking in the Real-World Trade-In Values over on our Smart Shopper board while you are waiting for some input here.

    Good luck.
  • I had a 1998 750il. I think that the mileage was in the teens. The protection package will add weight, and reduce mileage. If you do buy it, make sure that it is CPO'd - Certified Pre-Owned. You will want the extra warranty coverage. Repairs are very expensive on the 750.

    There are two 2001 750's on eBay. - =2434071417&category=6009

    With that caveat, the 750 was the most comfortable car that I have owned. A true joy to drive!
  • adobadob Posts: 18
    The 750 seemed to have its share of unhappy owners according How accurate these experiences are, who knows for sure...
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    I own a 2000 740iL that I bought used from a non-BMW dealer, thus, no extended warranty. When I bought the car in Oct 2002 with 27,000 miles, I paid a tad over 40k. I believed it to be a good deal as the car is very clean, is a rare color (Orinocco) with the even rarer "Highline" interior package, also, brand new Pilot Sport A/S tires. It is truly a beautiful car and an awesome driver. No significant problems as of yet.

    Unfortunately my driving habits changed drastically the minute I bought the car and have put 30k on it in 12 months. With 2 kids, 2 dogs and 2 motorcycles, I've recently been thinking of an SUV as a better fit for me. Talking trade with some local dealers, I've not gotten an ACV of more that 25k. All dealers admit the car is excellent, but also claim that the resale of a BMW once out of warranty drops like a stone! CPO cars apparently fare better as they are still considered under "factory" warranty. Most of the BMW's I've seen in excess of 50k miles are appearing on independent used car lots. Even the BMW dealers are much less interested in a car out of the mfg. warranty as it no longer qualifies for CPO, or so I've been told.
    The above is likely true of most high-end euro marques whose long term maintenance and repair expense make them high dollar propositions once the warranty expires. I'll likely hang onto my 7 as nothing else really appeals to me, but it does make the price difference between CPO and non-CPO appear to be a better proposition.

    My 2 cents for all considering a used Bimmer (or any Euro).
  • adobadob Posts: 18
    The 750 seemed to have its share of unhappy owners according How accurate these experiences are, who knows for sure...
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