I'm getting more and more hooked on a 1995 or 96 750IL. Thing is I
figure if I gotta go bmw I might as well go all the way and get the
best! And this year seems to have a relatively low price but still be
the version with nice looks that was made til 2001 (I mean, a 1994
f.ex. would have even older looks and I happen to like the newer
looks). As far as I can see you get lots and lots of features as well
as V12 (major cool factor) without the price going crazy. And it even
seems cheaper than a 5 series (this is in Denmark). I think because
most people here who drive one of these are either drug dealers or
ambassadors... haha, so the market is funny. I want to get one that
was used by the later, obviously :-)
My budget is limited though!
I read some other threads with good answers but still have some
So what I'm seeing is some that have done 100.000 miles and some that
have done 200.000 miles. Question then is, at what point do they start
failing in the components, compression etc? If I get the one at
100.000 can I reasonably expect to drive 50.000 miles without too many
repairs? what about the one that has gone 200.000? At how many miles
is the engine completely finished and need a total overhaul?
I know there is no hard and fast answer to this, but some guidance
would help maybe.
Also, does this model have the iDrive? I heard that's a really bad/
I can fix some things myself, but not if it requires tools more
complicated than a socket-wrench, should I generally take it to an
authorized bmw repairshop or any repairshop (that says they can do
Would you recommend taking it for a compression test first if it's
only gone 100.000 miles? what about the 200.000 mile one?
Can the odometer be changed downwards? (just need to know if I have to
worry about that or not)
Thanks alot! Now please convince me to get this thing :-)
OK, it sounds like you're looking to get the older E38 7 Series, i.e., the
model before the current E65/66 7 Series. A couple of things:
1. First, no idrive, so don't have to worry about it.
2. If you really, really, really want a V12, then you definitely need to
get it inspected by a competent BMW independent shop or someone familar with
the V12. Remember, these cars have TWO OF EVERYTHING, so if you get a
poorly maintained car, expect to see a very high monthly repair bill, i.e.,
I've heard of V12 owners who claim it cost anywhere from $1,000 up to $5,000
per month to keep their poorly maintained V12 running - YIKES!
3. Finally, as for those cars that get 200K miles, take a look, they're
usually very well maintained with lots of service records. Thus, any car you
buy MUST have good service records. Good Luck!
Yes, I'm thinking that would maybe be the case. Then I'm thinking that
even a well-maintained petrol engine generally when it gets old it
looses compression (power) and eventually need major engine overhaul
(cylinder-rings, sleeves, etc not sure of the correct english words),
which I guess would be prohibitively expensive on this kind of car.
This could be tested offcourse before I buy but I would like to have
an idea before I spend money on tests.
Here's another question, some of them seem to include "facelift to
2000 model" (like white blinkers and other details), but I can't
really find much information on this. Do you know what exactly this
includes? Is it a kit you buy and if so where (is it genuine bmw)?
can you put it on yourself? how much is it?
PS: Yes it's the E38 I'm looking at.
Here in the UK 7 series depreciate rapidly, so that after six to seven years
a 735i/740i / 528i / 320i are all about the same price despite huge cost
differences when new and higher spec's in the bigger cars. New prices used
to be distorted in DK by very high taxes, which effectively doubled the cost
of a car.
Yes there was a facelift in ~2000, and most of the range got desirable
features like Sat-Nav etc. although glossy features were normally present on
On paper the 750i gives hardly any benefit in performance over a 740i and is
a lot more thirsty and expensive to maintain. OTOH it will deliver its
performance more gracefully.
IME 7 series can easily be driven to 150k+ miles without major failures,
with only the Nikasil problem catching me out on the last one. For example
in 1989 I bought a 1983 735iASE as a stop gap. The mileage was
indeterminate (clocked), and due to various circumstances (such as working
abroad) I kept it until 2000. The dealer who took it in part ex. with 8
days MOT on it said it passed another MOT without preparation as soon as he
got it - mileage at the time ~150 - 175k (~250Mm)
My '96 740 came with TV and I simply connected up a sat nav unit and
it worked. It's got satnav/TV, heated seats, split air-con (which has
a leak), rear electric blind etc etc and I paid just over GBP£2k for
it. Ok, it had been poorly maintained, at least recently, and needed
the fuel tank leak fixing, all new brakes, a coil spring, new petrol
lines, the bonnet catches fixing, a couple of suspension arms and a
new cat, but now it's in good shape and at 130k miles it's still a joy
to drive. One of the rear electric windows doesn't work and the
driver's door got stuck shut recently.
The facelift is not much more than slighly smaller front indicators
and possibly different side skirts.
My 740 is the 4.4 so I don't have to worry about nikasil problems.
Yes, I was looking at 5-series and was surprised to discover the 7-
series costing less actually (when comparing year and mileage), so I
figured I might as well go V12 and get all those extra features it has
as well. (electric sun screen..great!:-) )
Some of these 1995 models have been 'face lifted' to 2000 models.
Does anybody know more about this 'conversion' or where I can find out
more? is it a kit?
Yes, for me though it's just the magic and cool-factor of owning a 12
cyl. V8's are common, 12 are not.
I won't be driving alot, so am not too worried about fuel costs
(famous last words :-) )
Ok. I seem to have read alot of bad stuff about the previous version
(i.e. pre 1995). I don't know that much about bmws, when you say
Nikasil you mean the engine, right? and it's a different version than
that in the E38 which will be more stable?
Can the mileage be changed in the E38? do I have to worry about that?
or was that only in earlier models there was that problem?
On the drivers side cylinder bank, I started hearing a rocker arm tapping
noise at 230,000 miles, it is louder now at 235,000 miles. Any input as to
what may be the cause?
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Sound as if you have already diagnosed this as a rocker arm tap.
However, it isn't as simple as that. The cam pushes on a single roller drag bar
(rocker arm) which in turn opens the valve.
Several faults can occur with this arrangement.
On similar systems the cam is lubricated by a spray bar and when that gets
blocked the cam is wiped out in about 3K miles. (See FORD Pinto SOHC )
I am not too sure if the BMW cam is lubed by an internal gallery or by bearing
spray leakage. What I do see mentally is the cam lobe wearing through the
hardening (parkerizing) or the roller follower getting sized and causing cam
As the engine is running (I mean it is working not do this with the engine
running) I would look at the rocker, follower or drag bar as BMW call it first
then consider replacing the cam and follower (drag bar). I think it can be done
without removing the head as the cam sits on top with split bearings and once
removed the followers - lifters - drag bars simply lift out.
Getting the drive chain wheel off and top end ancillaries might be a bind but
then what's time................. eons!
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
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