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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
"The phrase 'champagne taste on a beer budget' refers to someone who lives above his/her means and likes expensive things that he/she can't possibly afford."

My grandma use to say 'wine taste on a beer budget' and that is exactly what came to mind after buying a 2001 BMW 740iL with "all the options" minus the Sport or Chrome line package with just over 132,0xx miles on 01-13-19.

Come one, you have to admit buying a car for less than 4% of its original value, $66K-$70K+ in 2001 or approx. $95k+ in 2019, is pretty neat...especially given all the features, which many were "cutting edge" in 2001.

The 2001 BMW 740iL in question was produced in May of 2000(which makes it two months older than Misfire, my nb2, that was produced in July of 2000) with the following specs/features:

-Royal Red Metallic exterior paint with Sand Beige leather interior and high gloss walnut wood trim
-4.4(M62TUB44) V8, 32 valve, dual over head camshafts w/ VANOS variable valve timing, rated at 282hp/325tq
-22.5 gallon fuel tank, fuel economy- city: 17mpg/ highway: 23mpg
-5 speed automatic transmission w/ Adaptive Transmission Control w/ automatic and manual shifting
-4 wheel ABS disc brakes
-double pivot, strut type front suspension w/ forged aluminum lower control arms
-4 link integral rear suspension
-Adaptive Ride Package w/ twin tube gas-pressure, electronically controlled (EDC) shock absorbers
-self leveling rear suspension
-Dynamic stability control (DSC)
-front & rear sway bars
-vehicle speed sensitive power steering (Servotronic)
-16" Cross spoke alloy wheels
-multi-information display
-BMW on-board navigation system
-one touch starting
-power 2 way glass moon-roof with key off and one touch operation
-power tilt and telescopic steering wheel w/ automatic tilt
-3 setting memory system for drivers side seat, side view mirrors, steering wheel position and safety belt height
-dual zone front automatic climate control with solar sensor and residual heat feature
-micro filter ventilation system w/ replaceable charcoal activated filters
-16-way power Comfort front seats w/ 4-way lumbar adjustment and additional upper backrest angle adjustment
-front massaging seats
-Convenience Package with power rear window shade w/ manual rear side window shades and power folding, heated and auto dimming side mirrors
-heated front/rear windshield
-Cold weather package w/ heated front & rear seats, heated steering wheel -heated headlight washer nozzles
-interior courtesy lights w/ automatic dimming
-front map lights with rear reading lights
-illuminated door handles w/ door mounted "puddle lights"
-first aid kit in rear seat backrest
-front and rear door storage compartments
-Motorola StarTec cellular phone
-projector low beams w/ Xenon high intensity discharge lighting
-Parking distance sensors (PDC) front & rear
-fully finished trunk with drop down tool kit, luggage straps, cargo nets and power "soft touch" trunk lid

Most of the features are very useful/functional while some are kind of a gimmick like the "massaging front seats" that you can barely tell they are functioning when on and obviously the GPS now days is pretty much useless even if you went to the MK4 computer and maps.



Here is probably the best YouTube video covering most the options for the E38, if you can stand the "host" for over twenty minutes:

Another video of some of the lesser known/"hidden features" such as:
Feature 1: Convenience Opening Mode (Summer Window Mode)
Feature 2: Convenience Start & Key Fob Charging
Feature 3: Speed Variable Wipers
Feature 4: Interlocking Door Anchoring System
Feature 5: Pathway Lighting (Follow Me Home Lights)
Feature 6: Parking Lights

On the subject of the GPS you can actually upgrade to the newer BMW iDrive system which is pretty cool because it is essentially a fully integrated system and the company that adapted it provides a essentially pnp harness but it isn't cheap. Like so:

The car has only had two previous owners, both in Texas and seems to be maintained pretty well given its overall condition(perceived), both cosmetically and mechanically. It is by no means a perfect specimen but given its relatively low miles (approx. 7k miles/year), owner history, location and price of $3600 I think it is was a pretty good deal.

Okay enough talk, here are some pics that the seller(a small dealership) provided.














 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
cont'd:







(parking distance sensor)








So what are the plans for this one? Well since it is the wifey's, not a lot beyond maintenance. It already "demanded" some maintenance which i will get to in the next few post but it needs front brake pads, the windshield wiper nozzles don't spray, the rear passenger side window shade is broke...so get to those soon.

Beyond that the plan is to tint the windows, replace the speakers, get 18" M Parallel wheels, lower it(more than likely lowering springs and Bilsteins) replace most of the interior/exterior lights with LED's and some exhaust modifying for a little growl as it is pretty quiet in stock form...the most popular is a simple muffler delete and from the videos seems to sound really good with out being much louder, see for yourself:
 

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There are a couple of older V12 BMW's in my area for dirt cheap that I have been eyeing for a little while. Seems like a lot of fun to drive around for a year until something goes wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There are a couple of older V12 BMW's in my area for dirt cheap that I have been eyeing for a little while. Seems like a lot of fun to drive around for a year until something goes wrong.
Which generation? Either way they are rare. I dunno about previous ones but the E38 V12 motor is supposed to be one of the most reliable motor options. Downside is more parts, i.e. two MAF's, two ECU's, etc.


That iDrive retrofit is the coolest thing ever. Had no idea that was possible on these older BMWs.

That looks like a super clean ride and I sympathize heavily with champagne taste on a beer budget.
It is very cool indeed. When i say fully integrated, i mean fully..hvac, radio, gps, etc. Of all the people on here i figured you would appreciate the title.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
01-21-19: Just over a week after buying I noticed a rather obvious trail/large spot of fluid in the street/drive way after running some errands in the 740iL...


...assuming the worst I checked the fluid and thought it was oil at first but after closer inspection of said fluid on ground and on the under carriage it looked like it had a green tint.

So i checked the power steering reservoir, which in this case uses Pentosin CHF11S hydraulic fluid which is green, and it was nearly empty. "Fortunately" power steering leaks are common and relatively easy/inexpensive to fix.

Decided to go ahead and get the 740iL on jack stands, remove the belly pan and check things out. Right off I could tell the underside had probably NEVER been cleaned, not surprising.
Before:






After:




Used a whole spray bottle of de-greaser and about two cans of brake cleaner. Still wasn't acceptable by my standards but that was all the cleaners i had on hand. Thankfully after said cleaning i didn't see any "bad leaks" of any sort.

There are several places that are notorious for leaking oil(oil filter housing to block, valve cover gaskets) and again power steering leaks are common so this sort of grime after 18+ years isn't surprising.

Unfortunately I didn't have said Pentosin fluid on hand so i couldn't try to locate the leak w/o running the risk of damaging the power steering pump, so that would have to wait till i got more power steering fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
01-24-19: After doing some reading I concluded I could safely use automatic transmission fluid instead of the $27/quart Pentosin. Picked up said ATF and topped of the reservoir and had my wife turn the steering wheel lock to lock with the engine running while i watched out for the leak and found it pretty quickly.




That is just after half a dozen full lock to lock turns of the steering wheel. At least i found the culprit! That is the pressure line from the pump to steering box which explains the amount leaking.

Inspected the others and the only other one(of the four) that looked suspect was the pump to reservoir line which looked to be seeping where metal fitting was crimped on.


Decided to go ahead and order 3 of the 4 lines, the high pressure line, pump to reservoir and cooler to reservoir...leaving the 4th line that goes from the cooler to steering box and only has about 4" of rubber and the rest metal and didn't appear to be leaking.

After some research and browsing online I ordered Rein parts(good reviews and supposedly they buy from the same manufacturer as BMW buys from) off of Rock Auto for about $110 shipped which is a about 1/3 of the price versus ordering "real" BMW parts. I ordered the reservoir as well as it was less than $10, i figured I'd inspect the old and new units and decide then.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
02-02-19: Also a few days after ordering the parts for the power steering, i was messing with the 740iL...testing the "hidden features" and the rear passenger side window decided it didn't want to go back up.


So after some research decided the regulator was the most likely culprit and a common failure on late 90's to early 00's BMWs. After more research I decided to take a chance on a eBay regulator for $30....i know, i know. Disassembled the door...



..and my assumption was confirmed.

new eBay regulator vs old BMW part regulator with a manufacturer date of 2008


After trying to install the new one and finding the lower bolt that passed thru the lower pulley wanted to spin, i pulled it back out and inspected and found that the sleeve was moving, where as the old one wouldn't thus the bolt just spinning.

Nothing some JB Weld couldn't fix.


I also cleaned off the grease on the new regulator and used Honda Shin Etsu grease in its place. I had to let the JB Weld set up and decided to let it set up over night.


02-03-19: After letting the JB Weld cure over night and installing the regulator...

...tested it and everything worked as it should so i put everything back together and it once again had a window that would close.



Now I had to get to work on the power steering. Inspected the new parts and they seem to be good quality and included new crush washers, o-ring and clamps as required.


Got to work removing everything.


Here is the pump to reservoir line that was "seeping"(top part)...

...I barely pulled on the rubber end and it separated from the crimp fitting.

Those two lines were easy but the high pressure line to the steering box banjo bolt had NO CLEARANCE...

...yup that is the exhaust manifold right next to it. It took probably 30 minutes to get it out using a open ended wrench as the box end would go on but after just a few turns lost clearance to be of use. It was late so I the okay from my boss to take the next day off to get it fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
02-04-19: The next day I spent over 6 hours trying to install the new high pressure hose line as the steering box sits at a weird angle thus making the banjo bolt go in at a weird angle.

The bolt would go in fine w/o the hose but trying to hold the hose and get the angle right proved to be a feat I could not best that day. My day was vastly brightened when my favorite little helper showed up just as I was about to call it a day.



Onyx my four year old grand daughter can always make me smile no matter how bad of a day I have had. I do not have any kids of my own but my grand kids sure make me wish I did.

I have pictures of Onyx and Warbird, my previous '97 M Edition, from the time she was just a few months old till the time I parted Warbird out in December of 2017, so any time I am wrenching and she is at my house she wants to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
02-23-19, Mileage- 132,563: Life and the weather finally cooperated so i was able to tackle the relentless banjo bolt and wouldn't you know i got it in less than 15 minutes of trying!:suicide:

That sure made me happy but it was still a pain to get it tightened. A crows foot with 3/8 wrench helped but the space still made the only useful tool was a open ended wrench that had been cut down to like 4", so still time consuming.

Thankfully I was able to use the crows foot with several extensions to get it tight but for the life of me couldn't get the angle right to use a torque wrench with the same setup. The torque setting was only 25ft/lbs which I am confident i achieved at least that.

Got everything back together...


...and put in the "unicorn tears" aka Pentosin CHF11S...

(ended up using this instead of ATF as it turned out the rear has the self leveling suspension, so had to use this and that is what was in it)


...and had my wife start the car, well after jumping it off(was sitting for several weeks) with Misfire, my nb2, that could only do so because of the monstrous Optima Red top with 800CCA; and had her turn the steering wheel lock to lock for several minutes while I checked for leaks.

Thankfully everything I did looked good but just as I anticipated the fourth hose that only has like 4" of rubber was showing a glimmer of fluid where the rubber met the rigid line that is secured with a crimp clamp.


It never formed so much as a droplet but it clearly needs to be replaced but thankfully if easy to get to even though it goes from the cooler to steering box, the banjo bolt could be removed/installed with a socket.

I continued to let it run since the battery was low and was just checking stuff out from the bottom and got back in and was turning the steering wheel when all of a sudden it started making a odd noise that was accompanied by vibration thru the steering wheel, oh great!

Shut off the engine and started looking around and saw the pump to reservoir line was kinked just after the metal crimp and a few inches further up. I quickly figured out what i did or rather didn't do.

As many of you know most modern rubber hoses that don't have fittings on one or both ends is typically long and this was the issue. So i drained the fluid into a bottle to reuse and removed said line removing about 3" initially and test fitting and then removing another 1". Reconnected the line, re-torqued the PS drain bolt and refilled.

Started the motor again and no noise, thankfully! So i guess the sound/vibration was pump cavitation which I am sure would have ruined it in no time. The lines were NOT kinked prior to starting but as the line/fluid got hot, it collapsed on itself from the excessive slack. I can't believe I didn't think of that because i realized the line was a few inches longer. Hopefully my mistake will help someone else not make it.

Continued to inspect and let the motor run for another 30 minutes or so. Really nothing stood out. I saw the lower oil pan gasket was "seeping" and since I had bought the oil and filter to do a oil change I decided to hold off till i get that gasket in the next week or so. I think the oil filter housing gasket, that you can't actually see, may be leaking but not 100%, again a common leak that i will plan on fixing sooner than later.

Finally just a pic to confirm the mileage for my own records.


Also I borrowed my cousins battery tender/charger and hooked it up over night. Looks like the battery is good(looks new but i didn't check the date) so just was low due to sitting for several weeks.
 

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... oh my... I'm not going to recite the saying - "the most expensive BMW is a cheap one", or the one about the "asking price is just the down payment"... or... oh wait, my bad...

Seriously tho, congrats! These are so freaking nice, good to see you know what you're getting into on this.
 

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I bought a '88 730i when I was apprentice a few years ago. I paid 800€ for it and gladly never calculated how much i paid for fuel and maintainance. It was bad. But still loved it, would buy one again.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
... oh my... I'm not going to recite the saying - "the most expensive BMW is a cheap one", or the one about the "asking price is just the down payment"... or... oh wait, my bad...

Seriously tho, congrats! These are so freaking nice, good to see you know what you're getting into on this.
Thanks Jay and I more or less knew what i was getting into..i think.:suicide:



There is a 99 in my area for $3k and several 06's for less than $10K

My favorite BMW saying is "If you cant afford a new BMW, you cant afford a used BMW."
Another good antidote for sure. :smile1:


I feel better about my Mazda6 now.
Glad i could help you feel better about one of your many purchases. :haiguyths:


I bought a '88 730i when I was apprentice a few years ago. I paid 800€ for it and gladly never calculated how much i paid for fuel and maintainance. It was bad. But still loved it, would buy one again.
I realized going in that these take more attention to maintain but I honestly enjoy driving it ALMOST as much as Misfire. :smile9:
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
03-23-19, Mileage-133,420: Ordered more maintenance parts earlier this month but life hadn't allowed me to get to it but was able to use a bay at my work, Werks 11, after working half the day.

Had picked up Rotella T6 5w40 and Seafoam from Walmart, Purolator L35280 oil filter from Advance Auto, magnetic oil drain plug off eBay, Mahle lower oil pan gasket, oil level sensor gasket, Stoptech 308 front brake pads and Pagid brake pad wear sensor from Rock Auto.


First I added about 7-8 ounces of Seafoam to the crankcase and let it idle while i figured out the best vacuum source for the Seafoam to go into the intake tract. Unfortunately the only one I found was the one from the back of the intake manifold to the brake booster which i don't think delivered Seafoam to every cylinder.

Was going to try and use one just before the throttle body but that would have required two people to do, one pressing on the gas to create suction and a second delivering the Seafoam while making sure it didn't "kill the motor".

Put in the rest of the Seafoam, approx. 12 ounces, thru said vacuum line and shut it off and let it "hot soak" for about 10+ minutes. Then when i tried to restart it, it didn't want to start. I was a little concerned as i have never had this issue before. So after about half a dozen attempts and using the gas pedal i got it started.

It proceeded to bellow out smoke pretty heavily and so i had to fluctuate the throttle as the shop in on the corner of a intersection and the wind was blowing the smoke right into the road! Ran it for a few minutes, increasing revs up and down until it hardly smoked. Normally I drive it as i think that is the best way but I was alone at the shop and would have had to lock up, etc. so i settled for this way.

Next I got it on a lift...




....boy the E38 looks even more massive on the lift especially compared to the Porsche's! Drained the oil, removed the oil level sensor and then removed the lower oil pan.


Looked pretty typical from other pics of M62TUB44 motors. Hoping the Rotella T6 will clean it up a bit. Cleaned up the lower oil pan...


...which looked like the inside of the motor and cleaned up the hardware.


Cleaned up the oil level sensor and installed the new gasket...


..new magnetic drain plug vs old drain plug. Reinstalled every thing and torqued the 20+ bolts to 8ft/lbs and installed the magnetic oil drain plug and torqued to 25 ft/lbs. It was crazy that even after 40+ minutes there was still oil very slowly draining, makes you wonder how much stays in there unless you remove the lower oil pan.


Went back up top and replaced the old oil filter with the new Purolator L35280 oil filter and new o ring and it even included a new crush washer for the oil drain plug which i thought was pretty neat and hadn't seen before.


I went ahead and filled the remote oil filter housing 3/4 of the way with oil as i always add oil to the oil filter before installing. Added oil, checked dipstick and added a few more times until getting about 7.5 quarts in it which is how much it is suppose to hold.

Started it up and checked for leaks, no leaks from anything I did. Moved on to the front brakes. Thankfully the car has pretty much everything it is supposed to have including the center cap tool for the factory BBS wheels. Removed the front wheels and was quickly surprised to find the pads looked to have about half the thickness of the new Stoptech pads.

I checked the rotor thickness which they were a little over 29mm and new ones are 30mm so they have probably been replaced in the last year or so, probably the last time the pads were done which turned out to be ATE pads. Installed the pads, hardware and new front driver side brake pad wear sensor.


I also measure the brake pad thickness, just the pad, which was almost 6mm on the old ones and just over 12mm on the new Stoptech brake pads. I went ahead and checked the rear driver side which looked the same with the same rotor thickness.

Will go ahead and replace the rear pads in the few months or so along with the soft lines to the caliper and put in new brake fluid. Also the windows got tinted about two weeks ago which really made the car look better, although i liked seeing the interior from the outside.

Unfortunately the front passenger side window regulator died a few days ago, so I ordered one off Rock Auto, so will replace it this coming week and then when putting gas in it the other day i stepped up to ask my wife something and broke the fuel door hinge!! Thankfully(?) it is a separate piece and plastic so it was cheap ($16 on Pelican Parts), so that will get replaced this week.

I can tell my wife is already getting flustered with the maintenance but I had told her that it would require more upkeep that the average car BUT she really likes it. So i suggested we just keep moving ahead and get the maintenance "caught up" and go from there.

Also on a positive the oil leaks slowed down ALOT after it was in its normal oil level range as it was over filled upon purchase. My wife has observed heavy smoke on startup on occasion which from what i have read could be a few things including the OSV, PCV and valve cover gaskets...all of which is on the list to replace.

She has also said that a few times it started to idle poorly when coming to a stop and she had to give it some gas to keep it from stalling. This could be many things from what reading I have done thus far. Need to spray the MAF sensor with some MAF cleaner and check for vacuum leaks as part of the process of elimination to remedy the issue. Till next time!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
04-01-19, Mileage-133,574: Replaced the fuel lid hinge I broke. It took all of ten minutes and I couldn't justify getting my camera, etc. for it.



04-19-19, Mileage- 134,230: Took advantage of my day off and decided to replace the front passenger side window regulator that went out a few weeks ago. Picked this one(ACI is the brand) up from Rock Auto.


I inspected it and it found no "flaws" that i could see. Disassembled the front passenger side door panel which the door panels are pretty easy to remove, like one screw and a bunch of plastic clips easy. The "puddle light" on the other hand is a HUGE pain in the butt to remove...ridiculous it took as longer to get it out of the door panel than to remove the door panel.

Once I got everything out of the way I expected to see pieces of a shattered pulley but...

..nothing out of the ordinary other than some dirt.

Upon removing the regulator(thankfully the glass can be removed by tilting it so you don't have to loosen the window frame), it was quickly apparent of the issue...


...the cable had came off one of the upper pulleys but why? So what once I removed the motor I removed the plastic shroud below it where the main cable pulley resided to find this...


...the cable coming of the main cable pulley below the motor. So which came first, the "chicken or the egg"? The previously mentioned upper pulley seem to have a little wobble to it so i suspect that is the real culprit to the issue.

Moving forward I regreased the motor with Shin Etsu grease.


When trying to mount the motor to the regulator I found the main cable pulley wasn't perfectly centered. It comes with zip ties on the plastic shroud that houses said cable pulley but you have to cut those to install the motor. I was able to use a pair of needle nose pliers to help realign while I put the motor on. That seem to take care of it.

Installed the new regulator after cleaning the inside of the door of course...


...and then tested it after putting the glass back in. It SOUNDED like there was some cable "crunch" going on and the motor SOUNDED like it was struggling. I ran it up and down several times.


While the noise lessened it still seem to be there.

I THINK the cable pulley alignment issue is/was causing a bind and making the motor struggle. I went ahead and put everything back together. Will call this done for now. I may do a motor/regulator next, time will tell.

On the up side I finally did some reading to find out why the auto up/down wasn't working on the rear passenger side. You have to "reprogram" it. There is some dispute among BMW enthusiast about the correct way but what I did with success was lower the window and hold the down position for 5+ seconds and then up and hold for 5+ seconds.

This made the front passenger side auto up/down feature work correctly but the rear passenger auto up still doesn't work. Then again I'm not sure it worked before replacing that regulator.

The next task will be replacing the OSV(oil separator valve) that is located on the back of the motor and I suspect is the culprit for the occasional smoke on start up, at least that is what I have come up with from reading up on it.

A failing OSV can also cause a "rough idle" which also happens on occasion but the tachometer doesn't reflect a "idle issue". So unsure if this is just a misuse/misunderstanding of terminology or what but either way hopefully that will take care of it. Just received the OSV from ECS Tuning so will probably tackle it next week.
 
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