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BMW E38 750iL

Discussion in 'E38 (1995-2001)' started by jsj9464, Apr 22, 2008.

    jsj9464 guest

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    I would like to know where to find more subject information. There seems to be a dearth of info regarding the 7er series within BMWCCA.:confused:
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    az3579

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    Well... what do you want to know?

    jsj9464 guest

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    AZ,

    Thanks for responding.

    There are many general things that I would like to know. I have a '98 750iL. I usually trust the local BMW dealer to service my vehicle. However, lately, I have been getting stuck with some fairly large bills for rather mundane services. I would like to try doing more of the repairs myself.

    For example, I have a cracked fog light lens in the drivers side. It works just fine. The BMW service advisors say that I need to replace the entire assembly ($350). Surely, there are must be a way to obtain just the glass lens and replace only it, at considerable savings.

    There is a rubber grommet surrounding the center brake light in the rear window, presumedly to act as a water seal and shock dampener. Over time, part of it has come loose and obscures part of the light. The light still works, but it looks tacky on a 750. Service manager says it would cost about $400 to repair because there is much labor involved.

    These are but two examples. There are more. I am not totally bereft of mechanical ability, but I have in the past chosen to have the BMW folks do most of my repairs.

    I would like to strenthen the struts/shocks on my 750. OE is too soft and over time have become softer. I would also like to put wheels and tires on it that are larger than the 16 inchers original equipment.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

    JSJ
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    az3579

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    If you want to avoid stealership pricing for repairs, the only other options are either you take it to another shop or you do the repairs yourself. If you choose to do repairs yourself, you should get the manual for your car. It should cover things such as the fog light replacement (I'm sure it can't be all that hard...) and that rubber grommet in the back. I can't offer you any advice on that car as I don't own an E38, but I can tell you that it is more of a complicated machine compared to previous generations and as a result, will cost more to repair than a regular car should you have it done by somebody else. It's also not the most common Bimmer, so it is harder to find information for it.

    I recommend this book for your reference:
    http://www.amazon.com/BMW-E38-Service-Manual-1995-2001/dp/0837615313

    If you feel comfortable with 'small' projects, then the instructions in this book should be more than adequate to perform the job yourself. If there are more complicated things such as engine problems and you're not mechanically inclined, then you should resort to the help of others. Some of the things really are simpler to fix than the dealer makes you think judging by repair price.

    jsj9464 guest

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    Bmw 750 E38

    AZ,

    Thank you for your sound advice.

    JSJ

    114354 guest

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    I've owned a 97 750iL for 10 years. It is indeed much more complicated than other cars and it is built like a tank. That may sound good, but when you try to perform the 'simplest' of repairs, you'll be in for some work. Frankly, after all these years, I feel that the dealers or my independent mechanics earn the money for working on this tank. My dealers offer 15% discounts as a CCA member.

    Things like the headlamp glass can be obtained for ~$100 each lens, but you or indy have to source the repair procedure posted on e38.org and perform it. I've done it no problem. A dealer will only replace the entire assembly which is the lens plus all the xenon bits at over $1K. So your fog lamp assembly is likely same situation (albeit two years ago I see).

    I've also recently been seeing auctions for DVDs of service manuals, but I don't have one. Many of the repairs at my level of skill, which is moderate, are posted on e38.org with pics.

    See the other posts here because these cars will have a fuel tank leak eventually, need engine gaskets eventually, various engine bits. I don't believe in the lifetime tranny fluid, so I have had the dealers replace the tranny fluid and bits a couple times now to hopefully extend tranny life.

    The front springs and struts will need to be replaced over time, maybe more than once. My front springs three times now, first time early in life and under warranty, and front struts at ~140K miles. I had the rear suspension system refurbished also ~140K.

    Stick with the BMW battery replacement when the time comes due. If you don't drive the car regularly, get a Battery Tender with the ring terminals cord option and quick-disconnects, plus 25ft extension cord. Keep the tender plugged in for extended periods of no use. The car sitting in a garage for weeks will drain some battery life, like many cars, just more.

    You'll get surface corrosion in the rear brake light assemblies where the bulbs contact the plug-in receptacles. Simply clean the receptacles until you can no longer, then buy replacements at the dealer. They just twist out simply.

    The doors probably have a black trim strip along the bottom of each door. Those just pull down and off. Take them off once a year or more and clean the metal door lip and inside the trim. After a few years, the trim strip may still corrode so you buy new ones at the dealer or bavauto.

    I hope this helps somebody out there who may still own one of these great road cars.

    jsj9464 guest

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    Thanks 114354. Your advice is timely. I now have 104k on my 98 750iL. The suspenion is beginning to remind me of the 60's era Boatmobiles produced by the former GM. I suspect that I will have to have the dealer do these repairs, for a large sum, no doubt. I've not yet repaired the driver's side cracked fog lens. The fog lights continue to function well. My headlamp lenses are still deterorating from high speed road abrasion and sun-yellowing over time. I keep hoping that I'll get lucky behind a gravel truck so I can get insurance help in replacement. But no, the lens covers are made from the same material that is used in deep-dive submersibles.

    Still, the E38 is so much better than say, the 733i I owned back in the early 80's. I am just a little miffed that BMW Munich, BMW NA and the local Bimmer-nistas seem to be in collusion to make repairs as expensive as possible.

    I'll give another very personal example. My auto has the early version GPS. I recently purchased the upgraded digital maps (NavTech) cd's for the US (good company, good product, fair price). The system still works well but not great. To upgrade to a more modern system, you have to disinstall everything and spend a fortune re-installing latest version dvd player and screen. Function follows form = pferdsheise.

    Related to this is that I had a nav cd get stuck in the cd player located in the left side of the trunk, this is different than the 6-cd music player also located there) and had to remove the face of the cd player to remove it. In so doing, I broke a couple of the pins from a small 6-pin ribbon cable that connects the face to the body of the player. I tried to find the replacement ribbon. It is not available from BMW. I tried to obtain it from the computer hardware community that originally manufactured it (Phillips). Not available, although one company did offer to make me a 6-pin ribbon cable from scratch (several hundred dollars). When I took it to my local dealer they told me that the only thing that could do was replace the entire system (about $2700).

    This was bullsh*t. I knew it and they knew it. I told my neighbor (an engineer) about my troubles. He said to let him look at it. I gave him the faceplate with four inches of the 6-pin ribble cable attached to it. He took an Exacto knife, made a clean cut across the cable where the pins had broken, gently scraped away about 1/2 inch of the insulation, stuck the cable into the body of the player, attached the plastic cable lock, replaced the faceplate, et voila, a completely operable gps. I bought him a 12-pack of Sam Adams, a large shop, lighted microscope with mirror and a deluxe Exacto-kit for his assistance.

    Despite all, I hang onto my precious Bimmer with its ever-so-sweet V-12 and get out on the highway, looking for adventure...

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Others, please, I encourage you to relate some of your plusses and minuses of E38 ownership. It may not help anyone, but it will make us all feel better.

    JSJ

    cwbiii guest

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    I've got a pair of the assemblies I took out of my 97 740i and was going to put in my motorhome along with the headlights... The headlights are already in but I don't think I'm going to do the fogs. These are plain not xenon. Drop me a line if you are interested.
    I replaced my lenses on the headlights I put in the motorhome and the lenses were cheap money, but again plain not xenon. Getting the lens assemblies out is not that easy of a job. Taking the fogs out is a snap, literally. Just stick a long bladed screwdriver in the correct place and push the right way and that side of the assembly pops out. Continue rotating it out and it will come right out. Dissconnect the electrical plug and its free. I often pulled it out to replace the bulbs. I went through 2 gas tank drops. The first I dropped it, dried it out and then soldered a brass patch over the part that was leaking ( vibration crack) with silver solder. This kind of repair is not to be attempted by the unknowledged, you can hurt yourself badly if you don't know exactly what you are doing. Worked great until a bug crawled up the vent pipe and plugged it. The tank collapsed as the fuel was drawn out by the fuel pump. I replaced the tank with a used one since the price of a new one was too steep for me. I sold the car with 208k on the odo and the engine and tranny were in super shape... though I had the engine pulled at about 80K and they completely replaced the tranny fluid with new at that time and replaced all of the crank and connecting rod bearings but the culprit was a rubbing timing chain.
    I went through a number of radiators and front suspension components... and a drive shaft CV joint at $800 for just the part and I had to buy special grease and grease it myself. This was part of the last tank replacement since you have to drop the driveshaft, exhaust sytem and heat shield before you get to the gas tank... interesting saddlebag design and how it drains from both sides. (I still have a pair of unused exhaust clamps that I did'nt use, these are neat buggers too )I also went trough one fuel pump but that was one of the easiest jobs as long as you paid attention to the details. I had access to a TIS disc and this helped a lot to see what I was getting into. There are a number of computer based shop manuals available that you can subscribe to. $$$ but worth it if you use it enough. You can do a lot but there is still a lot you should not do... and the special tools required would often cost more than them doing the repair.
    Is this intentional? probably...

    Chuck

    cwbiii guest

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    One other thing... I bought a 3M lens preservation kit from Bavarian Motorsport and it saved my lenses. If you do replace you should invest in such. It was about an 1/8th of an inch thick and fully absorbed missiles launched at it.
    Chuck
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    bcweir

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    Here's a couple of very popular websites on several BMW models, including the E38

    http://www.e38.org

    http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/e38/

    E38.org is chockful of information. Bimmerboard.com is a very knowledgeable and active BMW community.

    Dealership service is typically overpriced anyway. You can find equally knowledgeable and capable BMW service from independent service centers that charge a whole lot less. You can find a capable independent in your area by going to this site

    http://www.bimrs.org

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