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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    Thanks for your suggestions; I will check eBay to see what is available. This will be my first attempt at buying from this source so I will do so with caution. I will keep you posted.
  • wrb1wrb1 Posts: 2
    I am looking for 90-96 7 series car in Ohio. My mechnic likes the v6 in 735i. I have found good price(I think) on 94 740i $8000 122000 miles. Engine replaced at 50,000 miles. Can I have some advise comparing the two. Also should the engine replacement by BMW scare me off.

  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    First get a new mechanic. The 735i is an inline 6. As far as the engine change goes, it might have been done as part of the recall on the early V8's. I wouldn't worry about the engine change anyway. BMW engines last a long time if routine maintainance is performed. The 735 might cost a little less to repair but that engine has been out of production for 10 years. I would have the 740 checked by a BMW dealership. Problem areas for the V8 are intake gaskets and seals and the valve cover gaskets.
  • wrb1wrb1 Posts: 2
    Thanks for the input. Do you have any idea if $8000 is a good price for 94 740i with 122,000 miles. Edmunds thinks it is!
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    It sounds on the low side, but if the car is in good shape you may have a deal. It can be an expensive car to repair however. So have it checked out completely by someone very familiar with the 740.
  • pj740ilpj740il Posts: 1
    I recently found an '99 740il ebay listing in my Atlanta metro area which did not meet reserve and called the seller. After going to look at the car, checking Carfax, Edmunds, NADA, KBB etc., I arranged a pre-purchase inspection at the local BMW dealer who also was a big help in furnishing info on other service records. Negotiation was a breeze and I picked the car up in time for a trip to the mountains. What a dream car to drive and I am thrilled with the car and the purchase price in the lower 20K range. I'm passing down my Volvo turbo wagon to my son and mom will step up in luxury and pampering.
  • Hi, I have always wanted to own a 5 or 7 series BMW. Recently, I located a 1994 740il with about 70k miles for a price of $12k. I have done an Edmunds search and a Consumer Guide Vin search which was clear.

    Is this year of the 740il a good one? What problems with the engine/drivetrain should I be aware of? I'm going back to school for a second degree and don't want to also have to get a minor in auto repair...;-) thanks!
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Not a lot of drivetrain problems with the 94 740i. The problems areas are usually the intake gaskets/seals and valve cover gaskets. Look to replace the waterpump soon if it hasn't been replaced. Have the front suspension checked for play in the control arms and thrust rods.
  • tbrown12tbrown12 Posts: 18
    I was looking into getting a new Acura 3.2TL-S when I found out that a friend of a friend sells luxury cars at wholesale. He has a few low mileage 2000 740 sports for about the same price as the new Acura and I am going to look at them this week. He gets various new luxury cars often but mentioned that the 740's are great deals in the current market.

    My concern is about the annual maintenance costs for the car compared to a Japanese car that requires oil changes only for the most part.

    How are the maintance costs (ballpark)? Insurance? Other concerns vs buying a new 30k Japanese car?

  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    Get the 740 if you want a sedan that handles like a sports car and if you enjoy driving. Get the Acura if having bulletproof reliability is important to you. This is not to say that the BMW will be a problem but there are a few known items that will need to be replaced starting at approx. the 60k mile (or greater) range. This includes the radiator and O2 sensors.

    Most of the cars that I've owned in the past have been Japanese but the sheer enjoyment that I get from driving the 740 outweighs the concern of having to replace a few parts.

    If I were in your shoes and opted for the TL-S, I would get it used and save $10k --they have been selling for approx. $19k wholesale.

    In my opinion, the maintenance costs are about the same. The Inspection I (oil change) can range anywhere from $50-$100 depending on the dealer. It takes 8 quarts of synthetic. However, you will not be changing the oil every 3000 miles. The BMW Maintenance Indicator will tell you when it's time. It calculates this based on the type, amount and driving conditions. Based on my personal experience, it goes a lot more than 3000 miles before you need to change it.

    The Inspection II runs about $600 or so at the dlr here in Boston. That is usually done every 30k miles. I use a good independent mechanic and he charges me half of that. This encompasses:

    BMW Inspection II
    Includes all items listed under Inspection I.

            Change oil and oil filter while engine is at normal operating temperature.
      Check transmission for leaks.
      Check rear axle for leaks.
      Visually check fuel tank, lines and connections for leaks.
      Check condition, positioning, and mounting of exhaust system. Examine for leaks.
      Check power steering system for leaks. Check p/s fluid level; add fluid if necessary.
      Check overall thickness of front and rear disc brake pads using special tool. If replacement is necessary:
    Examine brake disc surfaces. Clean and brake pad contact points in calipers.
    Grease wheel centering hubs.
    Check thickness of parking brake linings only when replacing rear pads.
    (7 Series Note: applies to 740i/iL beginning 9/96 production)
      Remove and install front and rear disc brakes, check overall thickness. Examine brake disc surfaces. Clean brake pad contact points in calipers. Grease wheel centering hubs.
    (7 Series Note: applies to all 750iL, and 740i/iL thru 8/96 production.
      Check steering for absence of play, condition of suspension track rods, front axle joints, steering linkage and joint disc.
      Check brake and clutch system connections and lines for leaks, damage, and incorrect positioning.
      Check for free movement of the parking brake cables. Adjust parking brake if necessary.
      Check all tire pressures (including spare). Correct if necessary. Check condition of tires (outer surfaces [left/right]), tread wear and pattern; in case of uneven tread wear readjust wheel alignment if requested.*
    Note: If requested rotate all four road wheels as instructed and rebalance.*
      Check thickness of parking brake linings
    7 Series Note: Applies to all 750iL, and 740i/iL thru 8/96 production.
      Half-shafts: Check for leaks at flexible boots.
      Inspect entire body according to terms of rust perforation limited warranty (must be performed at least every two years).
    Engine Compartment
      Read out diagnostic system.
      Check engine cooling system/heater hose connections for leaks. Check coolant level and antifreeze protection level; add coolant if necessary.
    Note: Coolant must be replaced every 3 years (time interval begins from vehicle production date).
      Check level of brake and clutch fluid in reservoir. Add fluid if required.
      Replace brake fluid every 2 years (timing interval begins from vehicle's production date).*
      Check windshield washer fluid level and antifreeze protection. Fill up and/or correct if necessary.
      Check air conditioner operation.
      Reset Service Indicator.
      Replace spark plugs.
      Replace intake air cleaner element.
    Note: Reduce replace interval in dusty operating conditions.
    Body/Electrical Equipment
      Check battery electrolyte level and add distilled water if required.
      Perform battery load test.
      Check lighting system, i.e., headlights, foglights, parking, back-up, license-plate, interior (including map reading lights), glove box, flashlight, illuminated make-up mirrors, luggage compartment lights.
      Check instrument panel and dashboard illumination.
      Check all warning/indicator lights, check control.
      Check turn signals, hazard warning flashers, brake lights, horns, headlight dimmer/flasher switch.
      Check wipers and washer system(s);wiper blades, washer jet positions.
      Check condition and function of safety belts.
      Oil hood, trunk/tailgate and door hinges. Grease hood, trunk/tailgate and door latches. Check operation of all latches.
      Check central locking/double lock.
      Replace batteries for alarm remote controls in all vehicle master keys.
      Replace microfilter.
    Note: reduce replacement interval in dusty operating conditions.
      Check heater/ air conditioner blower, rear window defogger.
      Check rear view mirrors.
      Visually examine the SRS airbag units for torn covers, obvious damage or attachment of decals, decorations or accessories.
    Final Inspection
      Road test with check of brakes, suspension, steering, clutch/manual transmission or automatic transmission.
  • dlim3dlim3 Posts: 1
    I just pick up my '03 745li from my dealer's service dept. for the 2nd time. Dealer states that car phone can't be used without the portable phone(motorola v.60i) set in the cradle. The owner's manual states that the car phone can be used w/o the portable pnone in the cradle. Who is right? In addition, I can't seem to charge the portable phone while it is in the cradle.
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    I'm the very pleased owner of a '00 740iL that I bought used at a non-BMW dealer. In Oct. '02 I paid 39k for a loaded il with 27k and brand-new Michelin Pilot Sports on it. Since then I've added over 20k and have the following observations:

    With 95% highway driving, the oil life indicator lights at about 15k, makes the 59.95 Synthetic oil change easy to stomach

    Highway driving nets 21 mpg at approx 75-80 mph. Much better than I thought

    Alignment is critical, mine was slightly out and began to cup the front tires at 10k.

    The 18" wheel/tire combination looks and handles great, but is expensive and offers short life-span. The Pilot Sport A/S's on my car are about shot after 21k, the staggered size prevents rotation which would help greatly. Replacement shoes are about a thousand bucks!

    The original front brake pads wore out and the indicator light came on after 45k. The rotors on these cars cannot be resurfaced, new rotors, pads, sensor and assorted hardware were about $450.

    For a 70k car with beautiful appointments, the stereo sucks! My wife's Caravan with the Chrysler/Infinity system blows the BMW away.

    Look for a good dealer, Athens BMW in Athens GA has been helpful but is small, sometime hard to get a service appointment. United BMW in Atlanta took the car with no appt., changed oil, aligned and installed new front brakes in 1 day, plus the car was detailed nicely upon return!

    The 7 series is an absolute freight train on the highway. Fast, stable, secure and extremely comfortable. My dad's Lexus LS400 isn't even close on the highway.

    If buying used, the newer the better. Up until about '96, BMW had a problem with the original equipment engine blocks which were made out of Alusil, apparently the sulfur content in U.S. gasoline ate these blocks alive from the inside out. Some blocks failed in as littel as 30k! BMW replaced many of these engines with a newly designed block made from Nikasil, a different aluminum process. The '97 and forward cars had these blocks as well. No reported problems. If a pre-'97 car interests you, make sure the engine was replaced or your looking at a 10k job!

    Happy Motoring!
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    Tasillo - I bought my 98 in August 2000 ( with 13k miles). It now has 40k on it. I can second most of your observations.

    Those 18" tires do come at a price. The standard 16" H-rated ones are half the price, and do not wear as fast. I still have the original MXV "green" tires on mine, although I plan to replace them this summer. The ride is another issue; my dealer gave me a ride to my office in an 01 (with sport wheels) when my car was in for service, and I was turned off by the jarring ride over rough pavement compared to mine with the standard 225-60 16 inchers. The sports look great and may handle a tad better, but the cost and degraded ride make them a tradeoff decision.

    Using a dealer vs another repair shop is an option owners might look at for repairs. Personally, I'll take mine to the dealer for most problems and pay extra, but there are some items I'd have no qualms getting attended to elsewhere. The brakes are an example. The parts are surprisingly reasonable..

    I have the DSP with CD changer option on mine. I like the quality just fine, but at a $2k option price some might not be overwhelmed.

    Fuel milage on mine has been good. I get about 17 knocking around locally, and 21-24 on trips. Not bad for a 4200lb car.

  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    I agree with you guys on the 18" M-parellel sport tires. I live in the Boston area and can't justify spending the $$$ for wheels & tires that I would have on the car 5 mos. out of the year. During the winter, I would put the 16"s back on w/ snows or M+S tires. They do look nice though but the tires are expensive. Unfortunately, BMW does not recommend rotating the 16"s either.
  • brewcrew0brewcrew0 Posts: 1
    I am in the market for a 740 and after careful searching was able to locate 2 good potentials. There are both 740il's, the 1998 one has 50k miles and the 01 one has 52k miles. My question is should I be more comfortable with the 98 knowing that it only averaged 10k a year or with the 01 that averaged 25k a year??????

    The 01 has the M sport package and is listed for $30,000, and the 98 is listed for $26,000. Your help is appreciated.
  • sboothesboothe Posts: 4
    I have a '93 740i. This past week, I had the engine gasket replaced and my serviceman told me about aluminium block engines wearing out early (less than 100k miles). My vehicle has 135k miles. My serviceman told me cylinders 5 and 8 are starting to show the effects. My engine rough idles at stoplights - another indicator of wear. My serviceman told me engine replacement cost was about 12k$!!!! Ouch. I bought a BMW with the expectation of being able to drive it for 300k miles not 150k miles. My serviceman tells me I need new engine mounts as well - another $500 repair.

    Would replacing the engine mounts do anything to increase the life of an otherwise mechnically degraded block?
    Would more frequent oil changes potentially extend the existing life of the engine block?
    Would limiting the daily driving distance to 30 miles or less potentially extend the existing life (i.e., not allowing the engine to heat to critical temperature)?
    Is replacement cost really 12k$? Any feasible cheaper alternatives?
    BMW replaced some engine computers enabling higher operating temperatures. I don't know if this was done on my vehicle becasue it is third-hand? Would replacing this item potentially solve the rough-idle?
    Given that my vehicle is starting to show wear on cylinders 5 & 8 and I now have 135k mles, how rapidly might complete engine breakdown occur - could I potentially have another 75k miles usable life remaining or, lucky to see 20k miles?
    Using higher grade gas (93 octane) was suggested - would this likely extend the engine life given current degradation?

    Feeling fiscally fustrated.
  • sboothesboothe Posts: 4
    Anyone have a slightly used '93/'94 740i M60 Engine?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    and I'm shocked at what I'm reading! One of the people who works for me just acquired a 98 740i with 59,000 miles on it, and he let me drive it. I finally get what the facination is with the 7! I was so impressed with the way it drives and handles, that I am seriously thinking about getting a (new) or slightly used 7 to replace my current car in a couple of years. But I'm very disturbed at what I'm reading with what I call catastrophic problems on their 7's. I'm used to rattles and leaks, but not engine block failures, valve cover gaskets. Any comfort out there for me? Can anybody tell me they've had their 7 for years and lots of miles with little or no problems? If I can't get 65,000 miles out of a car with no significant issues, it's probably not a car for me...... But MAN, what a driver!!!!!
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    Engines can fail for a lot of reasons, especially at 135k miles. There is nothing in the BMW block construction that makes it bulletproof, and the 93-95 models especially were troublesome due to poorly designed cylinder liners. While some owners may get 300k miles from their engines before major repairs, one should not *EXPECT* to be so fortunate.

    Your quest to find a rebuilt/used engine is probably your best bet, but at some point you may want to consider whether you want to spend more on the car in repairs than it's worth.

  • sboothesboothe Posts: 4
    I've been researching information on BMW Al Blocks & feasible replacement alternatives. Found a new short block replacement for $2400 (plus add'l couple hundred for shipping). Labor estimate for replacement is 40 hours at $70 per hour. So looking more like ~$5,500 vs 12k$. MUCH Better (based on my budget). I don't need to do it RIGHT NOW. Based upon what I paid for the vehicle, how much I've invested in it since, and overall condition; I feel $5,500 is the fiscally feasible solution vs. outright salvage (run it until the engine fails).
  • 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
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