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Start of the 2001 740 project

Discussion in 'E38 (1995-2001)' started by ERICHMOND528I, Dec 27, 2016.

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    ERICHMOND528I

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    Hi everyone,

    I am new to BMWCCA and this is my first post. I just purchased a 2001 740i today. The car was a great deal (we will see about that). It has 175,000 miles, runs very rough with knocking sounds, the GPS display doesn't work, the radio turns on and off, I am getting error codes for camshaft control, knock sensor 1, knock sensor 3, air intake temperature, and engine temperature. I did however drive the car 50 miles home with no issues aside from the noise. But hey, it was only $650 and the body and interior are in good condition!

    I will be diving into the car this week as I am off for the holidays and will be uploading pictures along the way. Any helpful tips or advice is always welcome.

    Cheers!
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    MGarrison

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    Welcome to the club & forums! Since you just got this and for such little $$$ - google search for BMW E38 problems (or try also issues) and same with BMW M62 (the engine in your car). Bimmerforums as well as others, you should find lots of posts on the myriad issues.

    Browse through them and try to get a sense of the expense involved in resolving these issues. In a recent facebook post I commented the reason there's cheap E38 7's everywhere going for $3k or less, it's quite likely they'll need $6k of work, and that's if you don't need the auto trans replaced ($2.5-$3k for rebuilt, $2.5k in labor to do the swap).

    Before you throw money & time at it, decide if the desired end-result can be had for what you want to put into it. Unfortunately, the historical experience (not exclusively, but, anecdotally, all too often) with the various BMW flagship cars (7's) is that they're generally the ultimate lap o' luxury through the warranty and somewhat beyond, but after a certain point the depreciation skyrockets due to the litany of nuisance and expensive fixes needed. E38's do have a fan base, although it might take the patience of Solomon to work through what all's needed. One plus, if you thoroughly address everything engine-wise, it seems you stand a chance of running another 100k w/out too much.

    However - that usually means - ccv, pcv, valve cover gaskets, valley pan gaskets, radiator, expansion tank (common for cooling system parts to need replacing 60k+ from leaks), water pump, coolant hoses, upper n lower timing chain guides, fixing any other oil leaks (oil pan gasket, front or rear main seals, etc.), vanos leaks (see: http://drvanos.com/index.php/m62tu-v8-341827), plugs, coils, and... on 'n on. Then there's any needed suspension stuff - various bushings, control arms, tie-rods, thrust arms, strut bearings, shock mounts, subframe and carrier bushings, basically all the rubber suspension parts that wear out but are a large part of the ride quality in these cars, wheel bearings, etc. Oh ya - the windshield gaskets - those deteriorate and leak, and I had a windshield guy comment it's a crapshoot whether an orginal one can be pulled & replaced without breaking. Operable cupholders - good luck with that. Glovebox latch cable stretches and you can't open the glovebox - replacing with a new cable, it stretches too and all too quickly. Bad climate or other electronic modules.... I would say fuggedaboudit, but possible Programa can do fixes - I think E38's are an era where various modules are coded to a specific vehicle, so swapping in the same part from another car might not work or be easily done.

    So - as long as you know what you're in for, you can have a pretty comfy ride on the other end; but, don't necessarily expect the journey to get there to be easy or cheap.
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    charlson89

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    The e38 is a great car but can be a money pit really quickly. As mentioned above from garrison the list if problems and amount spent can be quite high. I suggest having some one look the vehicle over so you can get a good overview of what the vehicle needs before you sink money into it.
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    ERICHMOND528I

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    Thank you both for your input. MGarrison, it looks like I will need almost all the items you mentioned with the exception of interior electronic issues. Since this will be a project car with no needed deadline for completion, I am going to accept the challenge! I do have a question, would it be wise to replace the head gaskets while the engine is disassembled for the timing chain guide replacement?
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    MGarrison

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    That's probably a better question for Charlson than me - I'm familiar with E38's up to a point but that only goes so far. I don't necessarily recall posts talking that much about head gasket leaks, worth checking though. Charlson can comment on whether perhaps it's better to leave well enough alone or not if they're not leaking. The 'as-long-as-your-there' consideration is reasonably important, one of the downsides of latter-era bimmers is the lack of direct accessibility, getting to things is time consuming so you obviously want to take advantage of the access without having to go back & knock humpty-dumpty off the wall and put him back together again multiple times or more than is necessary.
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    charlson89

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    Since your going that far it wouldn't be to hard to do the head gaskets as well. The head gaskets don't normally leak on this engine. So really it comes down to do you wanna spend the extra cash for the parts and take more time doing the repairs. What I would suggest though if you do decide to do the gaskets replaced the valve stem seals I have seen those leak and cause smoke out the tailpipe and oil consumption. Also do make sure to do all that garrison mentioned before those will be a problem down the road.
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    MGarrison

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    Note that the litany of things I mentioned was just what came to mind & not an all-inclusive list; if you're gonna dig deep into the engine, definitely research and check everything that's worth doin' while you're going that far. :)
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    ZHPe46mac2003

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    Is there a shop in Oklahoma that could handle everything mentioned here? I know there are several shops on both coasts that can rebuild an e38 to top shape. Just wondering...
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    MGarrison

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