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2000 740il

Discussion in 'E38 (1995-2001)' started by ricco39, Jan 4, 2009.

    ricco39 guest

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    i am a newbie to beemers and am thinking of buying an 00 740il i am the new owner of a e30 and am restoring that car. once i finish with it i will only drive it in spring summer and fall. it wont see the snow because of lowered height and body kit. so my next move is 740il. dont know about it a whole lot and all info about the car good and bad will be greatly appreciated. also i will be looking to make improvements be it tire/wheels and engine/suspension. so if i could get some direction on what i should do first to correct problems or just improve i thank all who give advice.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Make sure you get service records and have enough money to cover up to $1500 in basic engine maintainence and repairs around the 100k mark if they haven't been done.

    ricco39 guest

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    740il

    thanks moose but what will i be looking to fix in specifics please. this way i know what i am getting into thanks for your help
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    mooseheadm5

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    Resealing the valley pan gasket and intake manifold costs around a grand. PS hoses can leak and are a PITA to replace. O2 sensors are well over $100 ea and are scheduled for replacement around 110k (but they usually last longer.) Resealing valve covers is usually necessary around 100k. Have had instances of mutiple coil pack replacements, though rare. Plugs cost $14 each, blug boots $8 each. Blower motor final stage often needs replacement (causes uncontrolled fan operation, sometimes even with the car off which drains the battery.)
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    ChrisV

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    Check with E38.org for DIYs on all that. PS hoses aren't that bad to do (just did mine in my driveway) but try not to buy the hose itself from the dealer. It'll cost you 3 times as much. I haven't had to do the valley pan/intake manifold on mine (at 166k miles) but I've seen the guys on the e38 forum at e38.org do it themselves successfully for the cost of the gaskets.

    More likely will be the 02 sensors (easy to get to) and the Cam position sensors (seem to be fairly common. I had to do mine not long after I got the car. Again, it's easy to get to).

    More common is radiator and expansion tank leaks. They both seem to last about 50k miles, and I know a number of higher mileage cars that have replaced them a few times. Luckily, a new Behr radiator can be had under $150, and the expansion tank can be had for around $50, and both are easy to replace with not much more than a screwdriver and a couple minutes.

    Another common failure area at higher miles (90k and up) seems to be the traction strut bushings, giving the car a vibration at 50 mph. You can replace just the bushings, or you can get complete arms with ball joints and heavy duty bushings already installed for about $220 a pair.

    On the facelift cars ('99 and newer) a real area of concern is the water cooled alternator. It's not "rebuildable" per se, and the common failure point, the brushes and regulator, can't be replaced separately like they can in the '98 and older cars. The alternator is pricy. They don't fail too often, but it's something to think about and maybe budget for.

    Other than that, there are no specific problem areas to really look out for. Just remember, if you have to have a dealer or top indy take care of the car, it'll cost you. If you can occasionally get your hands dirty, you can maintain them properly without breaking the bank. I've had mine for 2 years, from 143k to 166k miles, and repairs have totalled less than $600 for that time period, which compares very favorably with other "cheaper" cars.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Of course, this is only if you can work on it yourself. Otherwise, they can be pricey.
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    ChrisV

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    Nice thing about these cars is it seems like, unlike a lot of luxury cars I've seen over the years, they are designed to be worked on, especially the bits that are common problem areas (go figure). So even a relative DIY newbie can be successful.

    If you can't do the work yourself, even a Honda can be pricy to have fixed. ;)
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    mooseheadm5

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    I disagree about them being designed to be easily serviced. Sure, they are ahead of most newer (esp front wheel drive) cars in that respect, but compared to the older models, there is so much that you cannot do with moderate skills and tools like you could with older ones. To fix many of the electronic problems you will run into, you need a GT1, Autologic, or similar, which are $10k computers. Many of the electrical problems require more advanced diagnostic skills than the average newbie DIY has. Hell, even we revert to swap testing some suspected failed components because it is faster than doing all the other diagnostics required to confirm a problem.
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    ChrisV

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    Well, really that's true about a lot of vehicles. Nothing is as easy to work on as my '60s VWs or Fords were. But this car has been easier to work on than my Jags were, and much easier than anything I owned from the '80s. Brakes are as easy to work with as my old Porsche 911s were (which were designed to be worked on at the track), and even the engine is easy to work with, for the most part. I'd rather work on it than the Lexus V8 that I'm putting in my '63 Mercury Comet...(let me clarify, than the Lexus engine while it was still in the Lexus).

    All I'm saying is that for the common areas that I've seen on my car and on the E38 message boards, DIY is pretty easy, and more commonly attempted successfully than it is for most luxury cars. It's one of the reasons I love owning the car.
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    mooseheadm5

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    I was comparing to 80s to early 90s vintage BMWs. They are a joy to work on. Everything is accesible and easy to deal with (excl V12.) I love the V8 power, but have made my wife make me promise not to get a V8. I repeat this promise every time I have to do a valley pan, power steering pressure hose (they really are a PITA, not talking about the feed or return hoses- those are easy,) alternator (have to remove LOTS of stuff to get it out of the E32/34), etc. BTW, some of the V8s have a habit of the oil pump nuts falling off and dropping the pump into the pan. Have seen them loose or all the way off on 3 of 3 of the V8s I have pulled the pan off of.

    ricco39 guest

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    740il

    moose being a bmw tech whats your fav year of 740 and why. does anything stand out like better reliability or are all years the same. thanks for info
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    mooseheadm5

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    Honestly, not a huge E38 fan, but they are largely similar, so I would say a facelifted E38 looks cool, but I like the manual throttle body of the earlier E38s and the related more simple fuel injection system. Later ones IIRC have better NAV.
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    ChrisV

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    Have any of the V8s with oil pump bolts falling off been the 4.4s? I know it was an issue on the 4.0s in the earlier cars (and then there's the whole Nikasil/Alusil issue, with the earlier Nikasil 4.0s being destroyed by our poorer quality fuel), but I hadn't seen it as a real problem on the 4.4s, like mine.

    The PS hose I replaced was the high pressure one to the top of the PS box. Supposedly if you undo the driver's side motor mount, and jack the engine up a tiny bit on that side, it becomes a 5 minute job. I did it without doing that, and it took about 15-20 minutes (the hardest part was keeping the lower crush washer under the banjo fitting with just fingertip pressure...)

    For my alternator, I replaced the brushes/regulator, instead of the whole unit. Much cheaper and did the job (it's really the only wear part IN the alternator...).
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    ChrisV

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    As far as years, unless the engine has been replaced, stay away from the early 4 liter cars with the nikasil engines ('95-96), as they had a tendency to have the engines go bad. The 4.4 liters are much better, and pretty much rock solid. The '99-up have some other differences (things like 2 cam position sensors instead of just one, water cooled alternator, differnt engine management, the availability of better NAV, though it's fairly straightforward to swap the newer NAV into the earlier cars, etc.). The '99 up cars have a different radio network system that allows for easier integration of things like an iPod. The later short wheelbase cars were also available with a real Sport package that included different suspension/wheels and a different trans (steptronic) with better final drive gear ratios. The long wheelbase Sports didn't get the better gear ratios, stock.

    Quite a few guys have done updates to earlier cars to use later parts, and use 750 parts on 740s, as well, and there's a huge community of DIY owners willing to help out either with advice or actual physical help (we recently had a meeting in Philadelphia of the local E38 owners where we both had a social event, and a big tech party at a member's house. I had my car recoded by a member who came over from Europe to allow the aftermarket LED lights to work without throwing error messages, and retuned the engine management on the fly to allow it to be most efficient with the new Magnaflow performance catalytic converters and cat-back exhaust).

    My personal favorite E38 is the '00-01 740i Sport, and in a couple years I'll probably replace my modded '98 740iL with one of those. I like the steptronic trans and shorter gear ratios of the Sport, though I kind of like the earlier body a bit more. In case you missed it, here's mine: http://stage.bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3327

    The E38 is one of my favortie sedans of all time, and my favorite 'modern' BMW.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Maybe it is the feed hose I am thinking about. I know on the E32 (about 99% sure on the early E38) there is a pipe that goes right behind the alternator and it is a b!tch to get fed through and lined up right. If you neglect to get the thing situated and bolted down properly, that pipe can ground the alternator B+ terminal (especially if someone did not reinstall the rubber boot) and can burn down the car. Had one come in with a burned up alternator and harness. That was fun to fix. Remember to unhook the battery when you have to replace that hose!
    IIRC, all the 96-up are 4.4L M62s, which never had the Nikasil problem. As for the oil pump bolt problem, I have never had occasion to remove an M62 oil pan, so I couldn't tell you.
    Occasionally one has to replace the whole alternator- sometimes the bearings go bad.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Don't use the cup holder! :p
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    ChrisV

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    Now THAT's a real issue! lol! My front one is broken (as are they all). The usual fix is to go to ultimatecupholders.com and get their set. even if the stock ones work, they only hold a 12 oz can and then block the HVAC controls. The germans didn't think cupholders are necessary. Shouldn't be sipping on anything and driving down the Autobahn at speed! ;)

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