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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • F1Buick, Tasillo, and BMWseller. Nice, informative and analytical posts. They probably should be compulsory reading before entering any high end showroom.

    What do you think though, do you get your cake and eat it too with a CPO used 7 Series with up to 100,000 miles of available warranty?
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    With a CPO and an extended warranty you are just paying, up front, for the risk associated with holding a used car. Its like buying insurance in a hurricane zone: If that risk is high, then the premium associated with the insurance will be comenserately high.

    Which leads one to wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper to live somewhere else or, in the case of a used car, to buy something without such a high maintenance risk associated with it.

    In the case of an E65, this risk analysis contributes directly to the rapid depreciation. So what you end up with is a car with a low relative market value compared to, say, a Lexus, but with a high premium tagged on for the CPO/extended warranty, so the cost seems to be the same, or even higher.

    To me, the real cost in this situation is the ancilary cost of having your vehicle serviced. In my job I bill by the hour, so the cost of trudging up to the dealer, dropping the car off, farting around with alternate transportation for 1-3 days, and then returning to pick up the car easily adds up to $1000 or more in lost time. I vastly prefer a car which is reliable or, if it breaks, I can fix myself during my time off. From this point of view, a reliable car is a better deal than a car with questionable reliability, even if the questionable one comes with an extended warranty.

    Why do you suppose Honda gets off with the crummy warranty it gives on its vehicles? Because given the choice between a reliable car with no warranty and an unreliable one with a warranty, the rational consumer will minimize his/her costs by picking the reliable car. So Honda outsells Kia despite the huge warranty difference.

    Since the ultimate subject is the BMW 7 series, I want to add that my old E32 750 is reasonably reliable for its age and complexity. By the 6th year of production the bugs were pretty much gone. If it was totalled in an accident I would buy another. A used E38 should be solid as a rock. I would not hesitate to buy one without a warranty. And why buy a BMW over a Lexus? Because the former is a driving machine and the latter is not. The Bimmer is a better toy.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    I like the CPO 7-series option. Be aware however that the CPO warranty is not the same as the new car warranty. Get the details so you don't have any surprise. Certainly, you can spend less and get a car with a better frequency of repair number but each car will have it's own service history and everyone doesn't have big problems with 7's. Besides that big grin that a 'bimmer gives you is worth something, right?

    As far as service goes, our center and I would guess that the majority of the others around the country have scheduled loaner cars available and pick-up and delivery service. You can't beat that for convenience and then you don't have to be driving your honda around wishing that you'd gotten your very own "Ultimate Driving Machine".
  • F1Buick, I (usually) like your line of reasoning: analytical, mindful of opportunity costs, etc. Most dealers don't view these things as a Caterpillar dealer would: an expensive captial investment that should be available 24/7. So, parts are ordered by UPS, there is no great BMW inter-dealer courier service, etc. (The CAT dealers in the East run an 18 wheeler out of a factory CAT parts depot in PA up into New York and New England visiting every dealer every night before 8AM so no CAT customer is left with a machine down because of parts. This NightHawk Service is one reason why CAT can charge more than Terex for virtually the same machine.)

    But, do you really think that a used 7 Series with a CPO is the same price as a Lexus? What is the CPO premuim? 3K or so?
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    When I bought my '00 740, I compared CPO prices with non-CPO cars. I found the differnce close to $5k! I rolled the dice and bought the non-CPO car, figuring I could buy either a great warranty from an independent for less, or just take the chance with no warranty. My first reality check was that BMW treats the second customer a little different than the original, despite still being in factory warranty. No loaner car, questions about maintenance, etc. One firm discussion about repeat business and standing behind their product regardless of who owns it seemed to clear some issues up, but still no loaner!

    Anyway, my '00 E38 with 58k is running like a freight train, just the usual minor issues. I'm feeling lucky!
  • Bmwseller and others, which 2002 model when properly equipped with four winter tires like Blizzaks is better in the ice and snow of say a far Chicago suburb?
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    "But, do you really think that a used 7 Series with a CPO is the same price as a Lexus? What is the CPO premuim? 3K or so?"

    You'll have to answer that for yourself. I really have no idea. I do know that in comparison to a Lexus 400, my 750 cost a lot more new and is worth a lot less used. I think BMW 7-series depreciates faster because BMW lacks the reliability rep that Lexus has built for itself. Further, the reputation for technological advancement may create more sales for new cars, but used car seekers translate that same rep into words like "complex" and "expensive."

    I can't disagree. My '93 750 has this gizzmo on the firewall plumbed into the brake system. I couldn't figure out what it was. Then I found out it was the "traction control module." Seems that in 1993 the Bosch ABS pump couldn't effect traction control because it didn't allow separate manipulation of the rear brakes. So BMW built a custom ABS module, plumbed into the rear brakes, which allows for traction control. The unit costs $2495 if it breaks (mine hasn't) and is almost impossible to access (add another $800 for the labor).

    But I agree with bmwseller on one issue: ain't nothin quite like a BMW when running down the road. These are driver's cars with a veneer of luxury--iron fists in velvet gloves. The top of the door sill in my 750 is the same height as the sill for a C5 corvette. At a stop light I find myself looking UP at drivers in Mustangs and Civics. Can you say "low center of gravity?" My 7 is a 160mph sports car that happens to be a luxury car. A Lexus is a luxury car and nothing else (can you say "boring?")
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    750 guy, how many miles on your '93? I ask because my '00 740 is fast approaching 60k and I'll put another 50k on it in the next 2 years. Trying to decide if I should keep it and "run it into the ground" or bail out now while it still has a shred of value. Any significant problems with your 10 year old 7? I'm more concerned about major accessory systems, etc. I think the 7 series drive train is pretty bullet proof, but I hate those nickel and dime (or in a BMW, $500 and $1000) frequent repairs on things like power windows, cruise control, A/C, etc. What' your experience been?

    By the way, couldn't agree more about the "drivers car" statement. On the interstate or rural secondary roads, nothing compares to a big, fast German car!
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    Handling in the chicago suburbs will be fine in either car with the proper tires and technique. Maybe with the 5 weighing less it would have an advantage if it was to be said one way or another but there are plenty of sevens running around up there, pull someone over and ask.
    You'll do great!!! I like the size of the 5 but would certainly "settle" for a seven.
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    I've owned the 750 for 6.5+ years and 60k+ miles. On a day-to-day basis the car is very reliable. There have been very few "nickle and dime" repairs for items not in the normal maintenance schedule.

    Hmm, lets see . . . I just replaced the switch for the rear sunshade @ $50. One xenon headlight went out and I passed on the $1250 replacement (!!!) and rewired for halogen. Just replaced the master cylinder. Still have original shocks, alternator, starter, a/c, cv joints, bushings, exhaust (except one your car doesn't have). Pretty darned original, really.

    I totally replaced the cooling system, but that was because of a defective expansion tank cap (missed the recall). The headbolts failed and I had to rebuild the top end myself (no competant mechanic would touch the V12), but that's a long story not relevant to your V8.
  • F1Buick, your head bolts failed? How do head bolts fail? Bolts stretch, bolts fatigue, but bolts usually don't break. Were you in there retorquing a head and a couple broke off? Did someone not used Grade 8 head bolts?

    This is mind boggling.
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    Well, if you grew up with cast iron chevies and fords like i did, the mind indeed does boggle.

    Many all-aluminum engines, including the BMW M70 V12's, use a head bolt system known as "torque to yield." Do a google search if you want more detailed info. (I can talk about it for pages, but I'll pass). At the simplest conceptual level, the "stretch" in the bolts is an integral part of the clamping force used to seal the head/block/gasket. The bolts are stretched just short of the point of permanent deformation (the "yield point").

    One of the benefits of this system is that the bolts can be used as "circuit breakers" in case the block/head is overstressed, with the most obvious example being overhearting. It the bolts were extremely strong and held fast, the block and head would have to absorb the thermal expansion by warping. This would be very expensive with a V12. But with torque-to-yield the bolts already are stressed just short of permanent deformation, so when the block/head expand, the bolts just fail by stretching too far. This releaves expansion stress on the head/block, but leaves you having to install new bolts and head gasket. Way cheaper than new head/block castings, but still a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] (you can imagine how accessible the engine compartment is in a 750).

    Anyway, my V12 did not overheat. The bolts just failed in normal use. This is a rare occurance, but it appears that BMW just couldn't get the V12 bolts quite right. There were several iterations of bolt design. To analogize: they stuck a 19.5 amp fuse in a 20 amp circuit and it thus was possible to overload the bolts during normal use.

    Have I said enough?

    Many motors by BMW and others use torque to yield head bolts. I've been told that Honda had similar issues with some of its 4cyl motors in the late 80's and early 90's. I would imagine that others also have not got the bolt design correct at first. I believe that most BMW I6 and V8 motors use torque to yield but have not exhibited premature failures like on my V12.

    My other car is 2000 Buick Ultra. It has a CAST IRON BLOCK AND HEADS, which makes me feel very secure :). Now if they could just work on the chinzy interior . . . .
  • F1Buick, thanks for the well done bit on t-t-y bolts. Yeh, to people raised on flathead, indeed inline 6 cylinder flathead, cast iron blocks and heads, this is new stuff. Kind of like when capscrews replaced studs.

    BUT, you went opaque when you got to the good part. What do you mean by "The bolts just failed in normal use." How did you recognize this? A bolt just fell out? A blown head gasket?
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    when I started loosing coolant and then I got 9 quarts of fluid out of a 7 quart pan during an oil change. Uh oh! A compression check confirmed the worst--one cylinder about 40% low and several down about 20-30%. This on a motor that during a previous check had shown only 5lbs variation between cylinders.

    TTY bolts usually do not fail by "breaking." They are stretched until they permanently deform (yield point) and thus loose their ability to hold the deck/gasket/head seal. They seldom reach the modulus of rupture, ie., the point where they actually crack and break. None of my bolts broke, but when I removed them I check the torque with my click-stop wrench. None retained more than 50 ft/lbs and some were under 40. This will not hold compression very well! :(
  • Bmwseller, you posted a week or so ago that the warranty on a CPO wasn't the same as on a brand new BMW. Without asking you for an exact comparison, what are the big differences? Here I was all prepared to save 30 large (70-40=30) on a 745 AND still get a factory warranty.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    I recommend the cpo's. It is a BMW product and that's good.

    Maintenance is obviously not covered. Also, paint, glass, headlamps, mirrors,body seals, gaskets, iterior trim, exterior trim, moldings, fatsteners, upholstery, headliner, air/water leaks, wind/body noises, wheels, and "wear and tear". There is a big explanation for "wear and tear" and includes possible exceptions that may include piston rings, valves and valve guides, suspension bushings, ball joints, etc.....

    Add in the $50 deductible and it is a fair departure from a new car warranty. But, check on one of these 'free warranty quote sites and see how where non-BMW products are going for so, it's good, but it's not too good to be true. As you would expect.
  • Bmwseller, thanks for the outline. It seems to me to be a very good warranty, probably about the equal of a new car warranty of 10 years ago.

    Certainly, more of the trim maintenance (mirrors, headlights,headliners, etc.) is now being shifted to the owner. The 7 series CPO owner can possibly expect some $500 service bills in exchange for a 30K reduction in purchase price and a $1500 reduction in sales tax (5% of 30K). for a gently used 7 series. Thats OK and more than fair. Sign me up.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    As BMWseller mentioned, you might want to check out other warranty plans. I paid Warranty Gold $1650 for their Diamond Plus plan on my used 740i a month before the factory warranty expired. (The price is different depending on whether you buy it before the fac. warranty expires). In comparing the available plans I found WG to be the most comprehensive and flexible (especially good on the wear-and-tear issue).

     For example, the best part of the WG plan for me was that their coverage period does not start until the date you buy the plan; not from the in-service date of the car. In other words, if you buy a 5-year 100k plan from WG a month before the fac. warranty expires you'll get close to NINE years of protection, assuming you don't hit the 100k mile limit before the 9 years are up. Most other plans advertise a maximum of 7 years/100k miles, but the 7 year period starts on the in-service date of the car. You're really only getting 3 additional years of coverage over and above the factory part.

    This doesn't matter if you get to 100k miles on the car quickly, of course. I only have 44k on my 1998, so the extra 4 years (and 75k limit) that I bought suited my driving needs. WG will also quote you customized plans, even over 100k miles, but the price rises quickly on those. I think the quote I got for 5 extra years (limit 100k) was around $2200-$2300, IIRC. Once you get an online quote from WG they send you email "sale" notices regularly on their plans, and I was able to negotiate an extra few hundred off as well. Also keep in mind that if the CPO car is still in factory warranty you're paying for additional coverage up front. If you decide to get rid of the car early you've wasted a lot of money..

    The only problem with WG (and other competitors) is that they use Chilton (or similar)rates to determine their claims reimbursements. This is fine for most shops, but your BMW dealer service department might get Bitter Beer Face over the claims "process". If you know you'll want to use a BMW dealer for repairs you might want to ask them whether they'll honor the rates before you decide.

  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    I'm thinking that the $1650 figure from warranty gold seems a little too good to be true. That company might go out of business, who knows? But, wouldn't you expect to pay MUCH more than that for service on a 98 model seven series in that higher mileage range?
    I'd want the BMW product that I know any BMW center will honor without question.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Read about other TH members' experiences with Warranty Gold by inputting that phrase into the Keyword Search box on the left side of the page.

    And scan through the list of the active discussions here at this link for further scoop on other companies: Finance, Warranty & Insurance board
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    I've used the WG plan at my BMW dealer.
  • I'm going to buy a 2001 740iL. Will I need snow tires to keep move in the Northeast this year? I assume yes. I just want to factor in the $1K when making a decision.

  • If you want to get to work every morning and home at night you'll need $1100 worth of tires, wheels, mounting, balancing and shipping. This $1100 will get you through only three seasons if you choose Blizzak and don't put on more than say 4K between 1 Dec and 1 April.
  • Earlier this year, I replaced my OEM Michelins w/ Dunlop 16" all-season Sport A2's. I'm in Boston and they're fine in the snow. Consumer Reports rates these the #1 all season tire. You will probably want to switch tires for the winter if you are currently runnin the M-Parallel tire and wheel sport package.
  • Thanks for the responses.

    I'm zeroing on a 2001 740iL with sport so I'll need to replace the tires/wheels for the winter. I'll check out what TIRERACK has to offer.

    Thanks again,

  • on my 750. They seemed great for the first 5000 miles but were disappointing over 30,000. They were vulnerable to road hazards, had difficulty sealing to my rims, and lost a lot of traction as they wore down. The handling deteriorated so markedly that I finally ditched them even though they weren't down to the wear bars.

    I now have had Firestone SH30's for 20,000 and it is a vastly superior tire, especially in the rain. Unfortunately, it is out of production!
  • The car I'm buying is being prep'ed now. Anything particular I should look for in the final inspection? Has 39K and just came in off a lease. It will be Certified when I pick it up.

    Thanks again for the help,

  • I've been asking some what some may consider "stupid" questions. I appreciate the tolerance of the board.
    I was looking at custom wheels for the snows I'm going to buy. The wheels will end up costing $400-$600. Are the rest of you that put snows on for the winter going through this?? or do people just buy steel rims and wheel covers for the the few months that the snows are on the car?

    Thanks again,

  • did somebody pull the plug??
  • rowlandjrowlandj Posts: 254
    They have packages with wheels and snows that you can likely find in a more reasonable price range. You can find wheels not quite as plain as steel with covers. I am sure they have something in the less than $400 to $600 range as above.

    They'll ship the goods ready to install so there's not a lot of hassle.

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