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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • The radiator is the weakest point on the E38 7-series. But with all respect to the owner who complained, he had to be a moron as these cars have more bells, whistles and chimes than can be imagined--when something is amiss enough to potentially damage the engine the car will kick into "limp home" mode and SCREAM at you to do something.

    I'm also guessing that someone sold him a new engine, at an inflated price, when the old one just needed a bit of machine shop work. Because of the electronics and the head bolt design, it is pretty much impossible to crack/warp the block and heads on these cars through overheating.

    The present problem with buying a BMW is that the company no longer releases service information on its cars to 3rd parties such as Bentley, Haynes, and Alldata. Thus, you MUST go to the dealer for any sort of significant service. That dealer now has a MONOPOLY and as anyone with economic training can tell you, this means you are screuwd.

    I gave up on my local BMW dealer after one trip in which it became clear that I knew a lot more about the car than his "BMW certified technicians" did, and that his primary interest was emptying my bank account. I now do all my own work exclusively, except when I need special equipment, in which case I hire an independent and leave very specific instructions on what shall be done. For most potential BMW owners, this isn't an option, and the cost of the dealer's monopoly absolutely must be considered when buying one of these cars.

    Everytime my 750 breaks I complain. Then I get it running again, take it out for a spin, and say "whoa baby, now I remember why I put up with this thing."
  • Hello all. I have a 2001 740iL which has an integrated Motorola cell phone. Love the car and I don't plan on getting rid of it for a few years, but the phone is four years old and getting a little dated based on the new technology available. The BMW dealership tells me they can't re-wire the car for a new phone, but I have been told by another party that it is possible. Does anyone out there have any experience in this, and if so, who might be able to integrate a new phone in a 3 year-old car?

  • I'm not sure what you mean (or if you know what you mean) by "rewire." You could pull the entire dash and integrate in one from a new 745. Probably cost about $200,000. I'm being a little funny, but exactly what "wires" do you think will be changed, and why? What's the real concept?

    i have an old, integrated analog and any rewiring is impossible for me. the issue isn't analog/digital, it is finding a phone that has has the hardware and the software to integrate with and talk to the dash display, steering column stalks, etc. So it isn't the CAR it is the PHONE. Find out who really made your present phone (wasn't BMW, that's for sure) and ask them if there is an upgraded version. My guess is there will not be, but its worth a shot.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    IIRC, the 7 used a Motorola Star Tac, and I don't there is an adapter kit for a new phone. Which is why I no longer buy cars with integrated phones. Eventually, I trade out the phone before I trade out the car.
  • Thanks. You confirmed my suspicions. It sounds like I would have to get a hands-free system installed by one of the wireless carriers if I want a newer-generation phone. Unfortunately, that would negate the integration features of the car (steering wheel operation, automatic muting, etc.).

    It seems as though Mercedes, BMW and other high-end manufacturers would allow for telephone upgrades with some type of adapter kit.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You would think, and perhaps they will now that phones change so quickly. But so far, I've seen a drastic attachment to old phone technology in the cars, in an attempt to be universal for all markets. For example, Lincoln has been using analog phones in all their cars for years, because there are some places in the country where digital phones are not used yet. But it's a terrible phone, IMO.
  • If anyone could offer any insight it would be appreciated! We are thinking of trading our 2001 750iL for a 2004 760Li TODAY! I haven't seen too many posts with info (problems etc) with the 760's - if anyone knows anything that would help with the decision, please let us know or e-mail at: The price here in Raleigh, NC (black on black - 10miles: $116,555.00 w/o taxes/tags). Thanks!
  • 2003 745i; i-drive computer lock-up occurs in hot weather on start-up after car has been sitting in sun/heat for period of time (live in nyc). on re-start, entire i-drive is locked up or "frozen" and cannot be accessed. car went into shop for two-week period; bmw claimed problem repaired. not so. same problem has now recurred three times. i-drive eventually unfreezes after car driven for period of time. anyone else had problem? if so, what was fix? thanks.
  • 92735i92735i Posts: 25
    I love my bimmer. Dreamt of owning a 7 since 1986. Have now owned my 7 for almost 12 years and have 173k loving miles. It has been a Florida car since new but last year I relocated to Chicago (hold laughter please!) and during the first winter, had to replace radiator 163k mi., a couple of injector hose connectors, and fuel pump.

    Since at this time last year I was planning on keeping my car till the wheels came off, I went ahead and had a top-end freshen up done including a cam shaft replacement. I got to see all the internal parts to my top-end. Boy, does it pay off to change your oil frequently.

    Well, my car is great, runs like a top, I drive 20k miles a year, but am really starting to like the new cars like Audi A6, A8, and am very skeptical about the new 7.

    My car is very reliable, would like to have 300 hp engine though.

    Planning on keeping my old 735 and give to one of my kids.

    I am undecided over a 2001 740, a used 2003 745, a new A6 quattro, or a used 2004 A8.

    My purchase time frame is October 2004.

    What do you guys recommend ? I am a BMW person, my dad had '72 2002 that I learned to drive with.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    My business partner has an 03 745. It's been a horrible car. I drive problems, won't start at will. It's just way too complicated. BMW has overengineered themselves to death, and they have taken themselves off my list as a result. I'm still watching, because I used to be a fan - but not right now! Ugly and unreliable are too many sins at one time.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
     ....... The only thing I would recommend is, you better be as close to invoice as possible, the resale values on the new "7" is about as good as the resale on 20 day old Christmas stuffing ..

               You might be better off looking for a nice clean 2/3k 03 760 and save yourself $20 grand ...

  • jamiem4jamiem4 Posts: 23
    Last week my husband was providing the salesperson with our title info for the 2004 760 they had in the dealership. The salesperson made the following comment - after obviously not knowing much about the car's features etc - that "I don't like the cars, I just sell them." So my husband (and I in tow) ended the sale right then and there. Oh well, Happy New Year to everyone, we'll keep the BMW we have. The salespeople here seem to know so little about the cars - it was humorous (but scary!!) - Jamie
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    . . . I have a 1993 750 and feel the same way. Agree with nvbanker that BMW has serverely overengineered the E65, it is crawling with bugs, and anyone who purchases it will be seriously sorry when the warranty runs out.

    the 1995-2002 7 series (E38) basically is an update of the E32. That's what I'd be looking for. Should be pretty bulletproof.

    The A8 is intriguing, but very rare--who you gonna get to work on it? No mechanic will know anything about it and they'll want to charge you for the time they spend educating themselves.

    The A6 started life as the Volkwagon A4 chassis (read: Passat) and seems to be taking a dive in resale value. The overall engineering/quality won't approach that in your E32 or in an E38.
  • 92735i92735i Posts: 25
    Thanks f1 buick. This is my dilemna. To go from my 735i to a 2001 740i doesn't seem to offer much value or difference. The cars look so similar. What would be the advantage besides more power?
    I have looked at them and they are strikingly similar inside as well.

    I have read this board thoroughly and notice most of the complaints on the 745i to be focused on the 2002, not the 2003, the iDrive, which I can already operate (I sell software), and the change in body style, which I happen to really like, especially with 19" rims.

    I test drove the 2003 Q45 premium the other day. Totally disappointed with the ride. Immediately I sat inside a 2004 745Li, Wow, what a difference.

    If I don't see reliability improvements in the 2003 745i by the time I'm ready to buy in 10/04, I will just keep my 735i and buy a condo in Fla or something.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    you can OPERATE the i-drive just fine..... When it works. My partner's wife has had her 745 in now (by tow truck) 7 times so far. Seems that the i-drive won't let the car start because of some error it has in it, that occurs at will. That is never convenient.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    My partner's wife has had a hauntingly similar experience with her 745i. Sorry for you folks. Next time, I'd get a Lexus.
  • HI! Guys what do you think I could get a new 745I BMW WITH A MSRP OF $77,895 for.I think the invoice price would be about $71,000.

    I have allways bought American made cars at invoice are a little below.Plus what ever rebate they have.

    I know the pricing on this car is a different ball game. THANKS
  • 92735i92735i Posts: 25
    I am going to the Chicago Auto Show. Wondering if the new Cadillac STS w/ AWD will be there.

    Spoke with my accountant. Based on depreciation and TCO, it does not make sense to purchase an automobile over $50k with life expectancy of 100,000 miles.

    Amazing what you can learn via numbers. Say good bye to my buying a 745i....GM, here I come.
  • jamiem4jamiem4 Posts: 23
    I have to agree with some other posts. We have a 2001 (30kmi) 750iL - picked it out in Germany w/sports package, hand woodwork etc, one of the last 750's shipped into the US. Then, like fools last week, we considered trading it for a new 2004 760...Then we talked to friends who had the 745s. NO ONE has had a good experience and even the tech at the dealership said they were still a 'mess' and told us we'd be crazy to consider even a 2004. Needless to say, check the depreciation and your calendar. You'll be seeing more of the dealership than you ever imagined possible! J
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    Bumped into a gentelmen at the gas station the other day with a stunning black 2003 745Li. As I was filling my '00 740il, I asked him how he liked it. His response was, "great car, when I have it". He went on to relay that in the 11 months and 8500 miles he's owned the car, it's been in for repair 29 business days, not including 2 weekends! He said BMW has been very nice and always given him the best loaner available, but....

    Conversely my '00 740 (63k miles) has never refused to start, run well and generally make me very happy with my decision 3 years ago. I agree with the earlier posts that the car is way overcomplicated and the matrixed wiring network is about impossible to diagnose and fix when defective. Further, as electronics tend to either work or not early in life and only deteriorate over time. As expensive cars depreciate significantly once over 50k miles, who'd gonna want one of these in 2006 with 45-50k coming off lease or on a trade. Even with BMW certification to 100k miles, that only gives a 50k buffer until things get real expensive. Perhaps BMW will go to 150k miles on certification with these cars. That may be an interesting proposition.

    As is, when my current 7 is ready for replacement, I'm most likley to sacrifice some of the driving experience for the resale and relaibility of Lexus.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    There may be isolated electrical problems on some of these cars, but I think the problems have been more of a software nature than wiring installation. In talking to my dealer, the service mgr. said they've sold about 120 of the current 7-series so far, and are servicing about 10 others not bought at that store, and so far have had serious problems with about 7 or 8 cars. Almost every one of the problem cars suffered due to bad software. Keep in mind that this vehicle is "controlled" by about 17 different central processors, so there's plenty of opportunity to fail.

    Of course, BMW stuck it's neck out with this approach to engineering, and is suffering growing pains, but I think they will successfully stay the course. I'm actually surprised that the car has sold as well as it has, but the car has some excellent appeal aside from the glitches that some have experienced.

  • Tasillo, f1Buick, et. al. help me out. Wouldn't a BMW certified 2002 7 Series at 40K next November be a good deal? You just know that these two year old 71K sleds will be at 40K by Thanksgiving. Maybe at 40K they will be even a better deal than when the 6K shower curtain story came out and TYCO was at 15?

    Presumably the bugs would be worked out, BMW would stand near me (as opposed to behind it) for three (?) more years, and I'd save 30K. Then I dump it on a pizzeria owner who never heard of the IRS and run.

    What did I miss? I know that there isn't a free lunch.
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    For what it is worth, the E32, especially the 750, was full of bugs when it debuted in early 1987. Complex even by modern standards (the wiring diagram for my 93 750 is 3 times the size of the one for my 2000 Buick Park Avenue), the car was gradually updated until by 1991 it was a reasonably solid car.

    The old rule of thumb has been that you never buy a new design in the first 3 years of production, because it takes that long to iron out the bugs and make any necessary tooling changes. This rule probably holds true even today. The first three years of the E32 (1988-90) have numerous electrical and software problem that the last 3 years don't have. The software was fixed, numerous troublesome circuit boards were redesigned, etc.

    Applied to the E65, this means you should avoid 2002-2005. If you don't want to buy new and suffer the depreciation, that means you can start shopping for that used 745 in 2009, when the first ones start coming off 36-month leases. Heck, by then they might even be good deal since the early years will have poisoned the resale value.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It seems a Domestic make can iron out most of the nightmares in 1 year. Why does it take BMW so long? Complexities???
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...... Complexities??? ... Well, thats one word for it .l.o.l. maybe corporate Ego would be better ..

               Most of BMW's nightmares are kept a big secret, they want that "aura" of the ~ invincible vehicle .. with the failure of the new "7" (and who knows about the new "5") they still feel that the market will just wake up, smell the roses and buy their vehicle ... the problem is, the dealers have been crying for some help for over 18 months and they aren't ordering them .. that's a lot of floor plan cost to have sitting around when folks aren't cracking the doors ..

  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    I have to disagree that the domestics can iron out the bugs in a year. The "3 year rule" is based on some fairly fundamental issues, like the life of tooling on the production floor. Since the mfg has to retool after 3 years, he can alter components and design at relatively low cost after 3 years. So, for example, if a circuit board has to relocated farther away from the heater core, that won't happen in the first 3 years because the machinery on the production line is set up to install a circuit board in a very particular place, the tool that punches mounting holes is set up to put holes in that place, etc. This will not change until a time comes up when the tools are scheduled to be worked on.

    Having said that, it is amply clear to me that BMW does indeed favor more complex designs. My good old dad, an engineer who traveled all over the world on projects, once told me something that, at the time, I dismissed as amero-centric (is this a word?), but I now have to agree with.

    He said that if you give a German engineer a design that is 5% better on some level, but 100% more complex, he will chose the complex design. An American engineer is the opposite--he will gladly forego a bit of functionality in favor of simplicity. A parochial generalization from a WWII vet? Probably. But there is a bit of truth to it.

    My Park Avenue is the "Ultra" model, with every gadget and gizmo in GM's arsenal. But the wiring diagram for my 750 is 3 times the size. This is not an exaggeration. Some of the complexities are a bit bizzare--why does BMW use FIVE relays to turn on the bloody headlights? And if they go this overboard on something as simple as headlights, I can only shudder at what they must have done with i-Drive, or with that two-stage steering in the new 5.

    One of the reasons that your partner's car has seen so many modules replaced is related to the BMW's complexity. Unless BMW starts making a MENSA membership a prerequisite to working in the dealer service departments, there is no way the average service tech can understand the car or diagnose what is going on. It already was that way with my old 750--the techs did not understand the car and blindly followed the BMW diagnostic software. My 750 is simple compared to the 745.

    That software only goes so far: it peels back a couple layers of the onion, gets a general idea of where the problem likely lies, and then says "replace everything in this area." The result is underdiagnosis and over-repairing.
  • tmjddstmjdds Posts: 22
    I am reading with interest because I am getting ready to get out of a 2001 LS430 and step into a 2004 745Li. I don't think that anybody advised Lexus that they were suppose to take 3 years to get things right. My 2001 was an early model, new platform and not a single problem. It has lots of gadgetry and it all works flawlessly. My only reason to change is that the 2004 LS430 isn't much different. I've read about the buy-backs and all the other issues with the 7 series and I hope that the problems are now limited to being minor. Changing vehicles on Feb. 9th...will let you know how it goes.
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    does not say it takes three years to get a design right. The design could be perfect to start with. However, IF there are design flaws which can only be corrected by substituting new parts and rearranging the production process, generally it takes 3 years for that to happen.

    Software flaws should be correctible at any time. Many of the early flaws in the E65 strike me as software flaws, correctable with updated Eproms. This is good as far as it goes, but it can also create the illusion that everything is "fixed" when in fact the only thing fixed was what was easily fixable.

    The E65 is a major departure in system architecture from the E38, so it is more likely to have flaws requiring correction at the production process level. The LS430 was a conservative design and thus was less likely to exhibit such flaws. I imagine the same is true for the new Jag XJ. The E65, on the other hand, is full of stuff that NOBODY has ever tried before, like an otto-cycle engine without a throttle. I would not have much confidence that anyone would get a clean-sheet redesign, full of such experimental stuff, right on the first try. Nor would I expect the flaws to be corrected in the first couple years.

    As I said before, the E32 was a similiar situation. Released in 1987 with a new V12 motor, drive-by-wire throttles, computer-controlled tranny, electronic stability control, all sorts of stuff which was radical, Formula-one level tech for its day. The first year was full of flaws, and the next two had gradually fewer. Many fundamental issues, however, were not resolved until after the third production year because circuit boards needed redesigns, etc.

    The E38 successor to the E32 didn't have the same teething problems because it was an evolution, not a revolution. The E65 is a revolution.

    Well, guess that is what warranties are for. Hope I'm wrong. I'm sure the E65 is a stunning car to drive.
  • My friend is almost up with his 2002 745i lease in 2001. He asked me if I was interested in buying the car after the lease. He told me it would be around 40k to 45k. Is this right?????
  • BMW doesn't recommend tire rotation on my 03 745LI but the dealership says it does (for $39.95).
    all 4 tires are factory bridgestone 245/50 r18.
    why wouldn't this be part of regular maintenance?

    also, not ONE problem with my car. every time you get in it's exhilarating. biggest problem was when the dealer didnt know how to buff a black car was a joke how they responded on a $70k car. 14,000 miles & not one issue.
    i-drive is using a mouse pad on a menu driven system. i dont know what all the hubub was about.
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