BMW 7-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • wahoo21wahoo21 Member Posts: 3
    I bought a 02 740il in November with 52000 miles on it. The dealer is telling me that the rear ball joints are worn along with upper rear suspension links.Repair cost is $1250.This is my first BMW and my question is,is this the kind of quality I can expect from a $70000 automobile? If ball joints wear out at 52000 miles, what's next? I'm thinking about selling it and trying a Lexus. Any thoughts?
  • wabendswabends Member Posts: 102
    I thought the last 740il was in 2001.


    For a first time BMW buyer, you may have to read more from this forum before you decide. I am about to get my 3rd beamer this weekend and information from this forum has been invaluable.


    Although you are not paying $70K for the car, worn rear ball joints at 52K miles is not the norm. The wear and tear on a car depends on how it was used and/or maintained by previous owners.


    My 2 cents...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    More like 80K miles for those, but as wabends said, it depends on who's driving and how he/she has treated the car.


    If you want fewer repairs and less maintenance, statistically speaking, perhaps a Lexus would be a better bet for you, although once a Lexus DOES need a repair, it's not going to be appreciably cheaper than a BMW to fix.
  • wahoo21wahoo21 Member Posts: 3
    wabends an Mr. Shiftright,

    Thanks for your responses- very helpful.



    p.s. wabends, you are correct. hat was a typo on my part. My car is a 2001
  • devondevon Member Posts: 2
    Hello everyone, I'm thinking about buying a 745i, but when I read Consumer Report,I have second thoughts. It seems as if the car will be in the shop more than I will be driving it. I know everyone is bias but can you tell me why I should get the 745i instead of an Acura TL, something that is more reliable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Because nothing drives like a 745. You have to jump from car to car in one day and you'll have your answer --- or if it isn't dramatically different for you than buy the TL!
  • georgebmw740georgebmw740 Member Posts: 4
    anyone can help me the light is staying on my 98 740il the p light when i park it overnight is this a common problem
  • buyer4568buyer4568 Member Posts: 7
    I have owned my 2003 745Li since November 2002. While it has taken a while to get used to the ugly exterior, the car is the best I've ever owned. The only problem I've had in over 2 years is that I continue to park too close to the parking curbs and my little flap in front of the front tire continues to come off. But, I've had no mechanical problems, and it is, by far, the most fun to drive. By the way, regarding the bad press on iDrive, if you can work a mouse on your PC, you can master iDrive. Don't believe everything you read in the media, including Consumer Reports. Is the Acura supposed to be more reliable? Who cares? It's a Japanese car with Japanese handling.
  • devondevon Member Posts: 2
    Thanks. That's why I pose the statement to you all. When I hear electrical problems and AC problems plagues this beautiful car,you have to practical and say maybe I should try something else. But, I think you've sold me.
  • mightyaspmightyasp Member Posts: 1
    My mom has a 1997 740i with 72k miles. She used to drive it alot, but much less in the past few years (<10k / year). I am going to be driving the car now, at least for the next couple years, and am considering buying an extended warranty from an independent insurer. The best quote I received was $2300 for major component coverage for 4 yrs / 112k miles, i.e. 50k miles in addition. Basically, I don't have any experience with this model in the 7-12 year 70-120k mile range, and am thus unsure whether the warranty is worth it. Of course, I need to check the fineprint of the warranty to make sure it actually does what it says it does, but assuming its good, is it worth it? I'm inclined to say yes, but I'd love to hear feedback from the experts. Thanks alot.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Might be worth it depending on the "exclusions" in the warranty. I'd spend a whole night reading it.
  • wahoo21wahoo21 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 740il.About two months ago I started it and by the time i got out of my neighborhood it was hucking and bucking and barely running and a check engine light was on. I pulled over, turned the car off and re started it and everything was fine and has been until this morning. On my way to work I stopped to get coffee and when I got back in the car and started it, it felt like I had little or no power steering. I pulled over, cut the car off and re started it and everything is fine. It's almost as if the car is running Windows98. Has anyone ever had a similar problem?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You need to have the codes scanned I think. There are so many things it could be. Could be sticking injector, bad plugs wires, bas sensor, etc. etc.


    You might try a can or two of dry gas in the tank just in case you picked up some grungy gas somewhere with water in it.
  • mellis1mellis1 Member Posts: 12
    This message is for Mr. Shift Right. I finally got an estimate on fixing the leak from my heater core on my 1997 740I. My mechanic, said he would replace the heater core for me. The job will take approximately 2 days to complete. The cost will be 1,000.0 plus any hoses he has to replace, but the job should cost no more than 1200.0. The price at the dealer was approximately 2300.0. I hope this is going to solve my problem. I have to get it fixed regardless, even if I sell it or keep it. Just wanted you to know, that I didn't forget about u, and your advice. Thank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well it's a shame you have to do that on a car only 8 years old. Heater cores, like radiators, do clog, corrode, etc. Maybe once they dig in there with the back hoe they will only find a broken hose or something.
  • mjc3mjc3 Member Posts: 3
    I own a 2001, 740i , which currently has 60K miles. Purchased as a Certified Pre-owned when it had 42K miles. The car has been great, no significant problems to speak of, except for one nagging item -- it appears to have what I would consider to be an excessive level of wind-noise coming from the sunroof area when the sunroof itself is closed, and the "sunroof panel" is pulled all the way back. The noise level is fine up to about 40 mph, however then increases significantly at 50 mph and above. When I close the "panel" it is much less noticeable, however whenever it is open, it sounds excessive.


    I have driven in a friends 97 7401, which seemed much quieter ... and even the 3 series loaner at the BMW Service center is quieter. The dealership replaced the sunroof "seal", however that does not appear to have helped much.


    Is this just normal for a 2001 740i, and/or is there some history of this problem, with common fixes identified. The dealership doesn't appear to "hear" the noise as much as I do, or so they say. All I know is that it is a heck of a lot noisier than any car I have owned before.


    Any advise/help would be appreciated.




  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    If you can observe that the roof is closing very tightly and evenly all around the seal, then your only recourse would be an aftermarket wind-shield of some sort---they work but they can be a bit ugly.


    Sunroofs are adjustable by the way. If you notice any un-evenness around the sunroof seal when it is closed, this can be adjusted out.
  • mjc3mjc3 Member Posts: 3
    Mr. Shiftright -- thanks for your response.


    From all appearances, it does look like the roof is closing tightly and evenly, so that is why I don't quite understand the wind noise. I thought the new seal would correct it. Maybe as you have suggested the Sunroof needs to be adjusted somehow. Is this an issue that has been seen with any frequency that you are aware of, or does it just sound like a one-off problem that I am having. For all I know, it could be normal for 740's to have a bit more wind noise, although I doubt it. My old Mercedes with over 200K miles was whisper quiet whenever the sunroof was closed, and I would expect at least as much from

    BMW. Anyways thanks for your response ... I guess I'll take it back to the dealer for another look.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It might not be quite snug enough. Are you talking about a 'whistling' kind of noise, high-pitched, or a very low, loud "drumming"?
  • mjc3mjc3 Member Posts: 3
    Mr. Shiftright:


    The sound is more of a higher pitched whistling noise. I took it back to the dealer today & had the foreman out for a test drive. He confirmed that it did seam a bit louder than normal, although not significantly in his opinion. So he took it back in the shop and did some re-adjusting make sure it was settled in full compliance with the specs. The result -- a bit better, however still not what I would expect for a higher-end car. I'll probably take to another dealer next week to get a second opinion.




  • georgebmw740georgebmw740 Member Posts: 4
    looking for a set rear sides and rear shades anyone thanks for your help
  • georgebmw740georgebmw740 Member Posts: 4
  • georgebmw740georgebmw740 Member Posts: 4
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Hi George,


    First off, please turn off your CAPS LOCK. It's hard to read and it sort of violates online courtesy. Many folks will simply not respond to posts done in CAPS LOCK.


    But I will, just this once!


    I don't think I'd touch the trans unless you can look at the fluid and inspect/smell it. If it looks VERY dirty (like mud instead of pure and clear red) and/or smells like burning cork, you might want to drop it out. I don't see any harm in changing the oil and filter if it is dirty.
  • vdragonvdragon Member Posts: 12
    Hi All,

    I'm thinking about buying a '00/'01 740 sometime this upcoming May/June. I'm comparing this with a same year LS430/LS400 and S430. I'm already leaning towards the 740, but I'd like some of your opinions in the matter since I don't have much 1st-hand knowledge/info (yet) in this class of cars. I know that quality wise each individual car is different.

    I have done the basic research on Edmunds, so I know that the S was new for '00, and the LS was new for '01, but I still like the 7. I know the 7 is new for '02, but that's a little out of my price range.

    I guess I'm looking for why you would buy the 7 vs the LS or S.

    Quality/Reliability? Handling/Performance? Styling/Image?

    Thanks everyone!

    (This is my 1st actual post, although I have been browsing these forums for some time now.)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    My personal opinion is that the BMW beats the Lexus mercilessly in all categories you mentioned except reliability. The BMW will probably have little burps and glitches and probably cost more per mile to run.


    I've driven both these cars and again, I personally would put up with an occasional spit up and temper tantrum for the benefits of having a car that is much more exciting to drive and a lot more fun to look at.


    But if you willing to trade off these things for the edge in reliability, then the Lexus would work better for you.
  • vdragonvdragon Member Posts: 12
    Thanks MrShiftRight.

    What do you think about the 740 vs (MB) S430 comparison?

    I agree that reliability wise (overall) Lexus probably edges out both BMW & MB, but loses in styling.

    Comparing BMW vs MB though would seem to be a little more difficult.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I still think the BMW is a better driving car in every respect than the MB. I think the engines are better definitely.
  • montainhimontainhi Member Posts: 4
    hello everyone,

    i am a new member.

    i just bought a 740 il sport and i am considering to buy the extended (platinum) service warranty. the coverage is for 36mos/36k miles for $3,300 with a $150 deductible. what do you think of it.

    since the car did not come with the owner's manual, i am having difficulty learning to operate its options/equipments. any idea where i can obtain a manual.

    comments and advise are highly appreciated.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The dealer sells the manual and probably has it in stock.

    As for the warranty---how many miles are on this car already? Also, I would strongly suggest you read this warranty cover to cover so that you know exactly what is included and excluded.

    You can run up a $3,300 repair bill pretty easily on a 740, especially if you drive a lot.

    If you are out of factory warranty already, it might be a good idea if the exclusions are not too many or too severe.
  • montainhimontainhi Member Posts: 4
    the odometer registered 51,062. carfax report indicates 51,943 as of 9/20/04. this is confusing. which of these is valid.

    the extended warranty by Driver Edge VSC, Inc, excludes any tune-up item (spark plugs and wires, distributor cap and carburator), electronic equipments (alarm system, telphone, clock and inverter), normal maintenance items (tires, wheels, wheel covers, shock absorbers, alignment, brake shoes or pads, rotors or drums, belts, thermostats, houses, filters, exhaust or emission parts, clutch, pressure plates or clutch release bearing and CV boots).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well forget it, that's most of the car for gawd's sake. And "all that" for only $3,300?

    You need to keep shopping. THere MUST be a better warranty out there. (Actually, these aren't warranties, these are insurance policies you are buying---they are betting you DON'T need the repairs and you are betting you do).

    Also the discrepancy between CARFAX and your odometer is troubling.
  • montainhimontainhi Member Posts: 4
    You are very kind. Thank for you advice.
  • mellis1mellis1 Member Posts: 12
    Well I got the heater core replaced, it took my mechanic a day and a half. What's unusual about this replacement is that when the mechanic ordered the heater core from the dealer. The core design was changed by BMW. So that makes me wonder, that they are aware of a problem with the heater core. But there is no recall for it. My mechanic says he has never in his experience seen a BMW heater core give out. But there is always a first. But in any case the total cost was 997.0 which is expensive, but would of been more from the dealer. Just wanted to let you know. Also after he completely re assembled the dash. He noticed that the air bag icon came on, and he told me that the bag sensor is not working. This another problem , I'll have to get the dealer involved. He said it could be a routine maintaince that has to be rest. In your experience is that true, or do I have to worry about a repair. Please let me know your thoughts on this issue.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Maybe he forgot to connect something? If the light wasn't on before, I think it might be his baby.

    There isn't a "recall" on items not related to safety. Re-designs of less than perfect components goes on all the time in the auto industry and they are rarely publicized.

    If the inlet tube to the heater core snapped off or cracked, that is SO typically BMW.
  • oniononion Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I'm new to this forum and am about to buy an '01 740iL from Carmax w/ 51k miles for about $31.5k. I've done extensive research on this '01 model and it's rated as the highest 7-series BMW in terms of reliability going back to the early 90's. I'm wondering why.. is it because by '01 they finally perfected this model before they changed it in '02 ? any thoughts ? also, Carmax offers a Maxcare warranty for 3 yr/36k miles for $1,800, thinking it's a must, thoughts ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well this isn't a "warranty" it's an insurance policy, and Carmax is betting you'll have fewer than $1,800 in repairs (which are covered by them). So in most cases the "house wins" on these contracts.

    One reason they might win is the exclusions in the Maxcare warranty. You have to read it very carefully for exclusions and decide if it's still worth it. Obviously, by putting in exclusions, the warranty (insurance) company is improving their odds, and it would be interesting to know what they aren't betting on.

    But if it's a decent policy, I'd consider it. You can run up $1,800 at a BMW dealer real easy.
  • montainhimontainhi Member Posts: 4
    I suspected the howling/wobbling sound generated by the front tires were associated with uneven tire wear pattern.

    I have a 01 740iL Sport equipped with Michelen Pilot. The left showed a slight uneven wear on the outside thread, which I thought to be the source of the howling/wobbling sound. The right front shows a normal wear pattern.

    I replaced all four tires with Hankook Ventace K104 that match OEM tire size. The sound level decreased but was not completely eliminated. Although not quite as loud as the sound generated by the old tires, the sound level becomes more pronounced at speeds greater than 55MPH.

    Is the sound generated by the thread design (both tires are similar in design) or is there mechanical fault with the car (i.e. defective front wheel bearing).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I have noticed that on BMWs you seem to get a lot of noise with tires that are directional, rather than rotate-able.
  • beemerweenerbeemerweener Member Posts: 2
    Hi, I have a 94 740i that quit on me and my mechanic is telling me that there was a bad batch of that engine and that the original owner never had it replaced by BMW as part of a service recall that was not well publicized. Does anyone here know more about this?

    Also, I am now looking to replace the engine, but I need to know how to identify the "bad" engines so that I don't get stuck again. Is it a rage of serial numbers, does anyone know?

    thanks in advance.
  • kissartglasskissartglass Member Posts: 1
    By All means, get the extended warrranty. I leased a '98 740 Il in December 99. Did the maintenance. At 89,000 miles , the engine had to be replaced, warranty covered it , but i was sweating for 4 weeks while they decided what to do. I leased a 2000 740Il, in part because they
    inferred that If I did they would look favorably.
    The 2000 740 Il : Navigation is poor. The Air Mass Sensor failed twice. Car dropped dead on the road, once on I 95. Dash read "Emergency Engine Failsafe shutdown". Not something I Wanted to see after the debacle with the first.

    The cars has been towed to the dealer the last 4 of 5 visits. The Power steering hoses failed, Radiator failed, window regulator and motor failed, Fan Clutch assembly failed.

    Anyone want to buy a car for parts. Thank god I only have 6 months on the lease. Unfortunately
    the warranty expires in July. I will probably give it back early rather than risk owning it out of warranty. Good Luck

  • bmw12345bmw12345 Member Posts: 1
    Looking to purchase my first BMW (1999 740il with 63k miles). It looks great and the owner has all of his maintenance records from the local BMW dealer. He actually just did the 60k routine maintenance. The owner is asking $19,500. I have always owned Japanese cars. Since this is my first venture into a BMW, I'd like to know up front if there are going to be any common problems that may arise with this 1999 740il. Any feedback would help.
  • likes2drivelikes2drive Member Posts: 1
    Wife and I love the style of the 96-99 740il. The models we have seen are in our range. My concern is the ownership cost. I am assuming the worst that could happen. Anyone know how much it is to rebuild the engine or transmission. I am looking to keep for another 10 years.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Member Posts: 1,150
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Member Posts: 1,150
    Reading the posts here and on other boards about the 7 Series Ownership experience is depressing. Lots of people, some maybe without enough cash, think that they can get into a 7 Series for little money because of the low resale and then enjoy a 7 Series on the cheap. Guys, there is a reason why the resale prices are so low. Think about it. A MY2000 7 Series could be a money pit that could go right through your wallet. Then you'd put an ad in the paper and offer yet another 7 Series at a give away price and hope that the buyer wouldn't come back to haunt you.

    If you just gotta have a high end car and yet can't pay the price for a new one with the factory warranty, IMO the best deal is a very late model XJ Series Jaguar. They are relatively cheap to buy because the initial MSPR is a good 15K less than a 7 Series, the reputation they had for poor QC hasn't washed out yet, and, frankly, they don't have the buzz of BMW or MB. They do though have more reliability at a lower price. So, less money, less flash, more reliability. Seems simple to me.
  • houmanhouman Member Posts: 2
    Just bought a 745i sport and wife is complaining about the rough ride which I have to agree with. Is this common? can it be reduced if I change wheels to 18?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Have you checked your tire pressure against factory recommendations?

    What is your stock tire size now and what is the brand/type?
  • houmanhouman Member Posts: 2
    its a Dunlop 245/40 19
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Okay, Here's the deal.

    The 19s on that car ride hard and you're stuck with it...but the car also came with 18s I believe. Maybe your dealer will swap them out for you if you bought the car new from him?

    If you can't get 18s or don't want them, you have two other choices:

    1. deflate the 19s to 32-34 lbs---this will improve the ride BUT CAUSE EDGEWEAR on those tires.

    2. You can switch to Michelin Pilot Sport AS tires, which will ride better in the 19" size than the Dunlaps.

    Your 745 is designed for high speed sport driving. It isn't a mall cruiser so that's why it rides like a race car---it sort of is built to perform like one and the ride is not to everyone's taste.

    So there you go, hope that helps.
  • oconnomoconnom Member Posts: 1
    I want to retrofit a genuine BMW E32 cruise control, anyone able to e-mail me the cruise wiring diagram ?
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