Forum 7 series owners (but not the 750iL)
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Hi Axel, On the E32 bullitin board, i came across the link to your website, and i read your story.  Me, being the owner of an '88 735iL with 320k (kilometers = 198k miles) can only say that it is a great car.  The dealers here in Holland are not very fond of old car like this, but the German-dealer (i live close to the German-border) are a different story. Why don't you contact BMW in Germany with your story, maybe they can persuade BMW of America to take another look at your situation. Best regards,
Ronald  (1988 735iL)  <email address on file>
Netherlands - Saturday, May 5, 2001 at 00:41:00

Axel's reply:  I wish I could take my car to a German dealer.   Unfortunately, I am quite far from the German border.

did i miss your pre purchase diagnostic report?
Joe A.  (1994 740iL)  <email address on file>
Burbank, California USA - Wednesday, April 25, 2001 at 13:31:14

Axel's reply:  No, you didn't miss it, although I did, but that would not have changed what work has been necessary over the life of the car.  This website isn't just about what I had serviced, and what the prior owner had done, or what may have been needed when I bought the car, but rather it's about what work the car has needed, regardless of which owner did it.  It's the overall repair record of the car that I find most disturbing.

Doesn't anyone find it a little odd that in Axel's correspondence with BMW (that he has provided copies of on his site), he says that he'd be willing to trade the car for a certified-preowned 740 at one of his local dealers? Wouldn't an experience that is supposedly this bad keep a person out of any BMW for life, fearing a repeat of the first car's repair history? Axel is full of it, and is just having trouble admitting that he made a hasty purchase with the 750, obviously cannot afford one, and is dumb enough to be duped by every BMW dealer he comes in contact with. just my 2 cents.
Bridge  (1990 735iL)
Connecticut USA - Tuesday, April 24, 2001 at 17:57:01

Axel's reply:  Thanks for the reminder- I had been meaning to make a retraction.  I wasn't very comfortable suggesting it then, but at the time it seemed like a fair idea.  I have sent a FAX to BMW and withdrawn the suggestion.  You may have overlooked that this 750 is my fifth BMW (and 2nd 750).  It should be fairly obvious I'm not trying to proclaim that all BMW cars are bad, but sharing what has happened with my current BMW and seeking out others who may have had a similar experience.  My "hasty purchase" took me weeks of searching and looking at many 750iL cars.   Affording one and being willing to take it in the shop constantly are two completely different things.  And I've only been to one dealer.

There comes a point, sir, where one must arrive at the realization that "this is not the car for me", either because of poor performance or poor build quality, etc. For most of us, that point is reached WAY before $32,000. I would submit that your rant on the opening page of this website is borne more of anger at yourself than anger at BMW. After all, something made you continue to throw money at that car---a persuasive mechanic, a chickie who loves it, or ignorance as to what it really takes to REPAIR IT YOURSELF, and how easy most repairs, even major ones, are. If you leave all of your repairs exclusively to mechanics, then you will put said mechanic's children through college. Your "repair list" has shown glowing examples of you getting literally 'ripped a new one' by your mechanic. I make no comment other than that in defense of BMW. I don't know you and I do not wish to judge you. But the facts you reveal about the experience give you away, somewhat. If it truly, truly has been that bad, then get it to a point where it runs, PARK IT, buy a $2000 Honda to drive in the interim, and SELL THE DAMNED CAR. Make it someone else's problem and someone else's fight. BMW is perfectly capable of making a lemon. So is Toyota, Nissan, Audi, Alfa, Lamborghini....anyone. Don't sit there and suck on that lemon, and do not spend another blessed dime, nor ounce of breath in bitterness at BMW on it. Just sell it. --CB
Crowbar  (1988 735i)  <email address on file>
USA - Tuesday, April 24, 2001 at 14:22:38

Axel's reply:  Take deep breaths.  Relax.  Everything will be okay.  You seem more upset about this than I do!  What rant [to scold violently]?  The opening page, as the whole website is, a fairly factual report.   The only reason I continued to "throw money at the car" was that things kept breaking down, and I paid the bills.  Nobody had to persuade me to fix it.  The choice was have a car that was running, or have one that was not.  I did not buy a 750iL as a DO IT YOURSELF project- that's why I pay mechanics, and I understand that they will use their earnings to perhaps put their kids through school- that's how a free economy system works.  These details, however, are irrelevant and do not explain why the car, over its lifetime, has needed 100 visits to the shop and $32,000 in maintenance.   I don't see how selling it will accomplish my goal, which is to find out more about the repair patterns of the 750iL from other owners, and to somehow be satisfied that I have effectively communicated my own experiences.  Making it "someone else's problem" would be unethical.  And I couldn't really make this someone else's fight, as I see this more as a search for the truth.  Other car manufacturers may make lemons, but BMW has the distinction of being the only one I know of that has a brand specific lemon WebRing (see the bottom of the home page), with several sites from unhappy owners.  My website is not even the first one, but at least the fourth one.

You bought the car used - why should BMWUSA care?  I went to the web link posted above, and really can't understand why BMW would give a rat's toenail about you or your car. They didn't benefit dollar one when you bought the car - used 6 years after it was made. If I sold someone my house, and then they sold it to someone else, and then that guy came to me 11 years later complaining that my house was a piece of crap, I'd laugh in his face!  It is a shame that your car has had so many problems - I've been there and know how crappy it can be. But some of your repairs are a little ridiculous. $1200 for windshield trim repairs? I just had the same thing happen to my 735 - and despite what they say, you DO NOT have to replace the entire windshield. I just bought a new part for $85 and used some RTV to seal it in place. Good as new, even at high road speeds.   Try taking your car to a good independent, they might be able to save you some $. Pissing up a rope with BMW will just make you angry and tired.
Troy K.  (1988 735i)  <email address on file>
Bethesda, Maryland USA - Monday, April 23, 2001 at 21:13:17

Axel's reply:  Here's where your house analogy goes wrong- I am not pointing my finger at the prior owner of the car, but at the manufacturer of the car, just as you would point your finger at the builder of your house, if you found out that it was built on a faulty foundation- which would certainly not be the fault of the house's prior owner.  If you learned your house was built on a faulty foundation, even if it was years later, and that the builder had built many others the same way, I assure you that it would be no laughing matter.  The reason BMW should care is that this car is not my first BMW, but my fifth, which would make me an excellent candidate to buy a sixth.   I have always used only BMW parts and have it serviced at a BMW dealership, both of which benefit BMW.  It is actually the members of this Forum that appear to benefit BMW the least, because you folks seem to service your own cars and buy non-BMW parts, and are very unlikely to ever buy a new BMW.  By they way, I do not anger easily, and tire even less easily, so plan on seeing me here for quite a while.

Time to IGNORE Axel.  The guy is only doing this to get website traffic.  I'm OUT ! ! !
Thomas M.  (1988 735i)  <email address on file>
Jamison, Pennsylvania USA - Monday, April 23, 2001 at 20:23:14

Axel's reply:  Yes, that's right.  You got me.  I'm just doing this because I like web traffic.  Maybe I brought my car in 50 times and spent $23,000 in maintenance because I thought the car rental girl at the dealership was pretty (and she was!).  Actually, I've gone through a lot of trouble to share my story so that others might be better aware of the characteristics of a 750iL.   If I had access to a website like mine, I never would have bought a 750iL to begin with.  I am also in search of feedback and information from other owners, and the only way to do that is to go public.  If you'll notice, my website has no banners, and I make no money from it.

Hose me once  Seems to me the old adage, Hose me once shame on you, hose me twice shame on me, hose me every two weeks and i'm a sadist.  larry
Larry  (1994 740iL)  <email address on file>
USA - Friday, April 20, 2001 at 08:12:43

Axel's reply:  I could be wrong, but I think the expression goes "Fool me once..."  How about getting hosed to the tune of $23,000?   Driving a 750iL should not require it's owner to be the Marquis de Sade, certainly not with the way the car is marketed.

What are you taking about, I take mine to the dealer too. I totaly agrees with him. We repair these very expencive cars why to much. Don't get me wrong, I love my 88 735i, but for being the best cars on the planet, they sure do break alot and its little crap that should never go. Like my drivers seat and mirrors don't work now. can't fix myself cause no one here has given me any thing to go on, so it looks like I'm off to dealer to have it done right. good luck guys .
JJP  (1988 735i)
USA - Friday, April 20, 2001 at 03:31:38

Axel's reply:  My point exactly- the "Ultimate Driving Machine" is not supposed to be so unreliable.

sh*t i will give you $3001 for it. if you are paying to have tens of thousands of $$ in work done to it, then you obviously got more money than brains and you deserve to re-circulate some of that money back into society. hell you could buy a whole damn wreck or something and have the whole car for parts, thats what i did, $2200 and i can keep my e32 on the road for the next decade. Or better yet, I would do those repairs for 1/2 of that price. Rear shocks are so easy to put in, i did mine in an hour. you are obviously afraid of getting dirty, so you might want to get some cheap clothes at wal-mart and a tool set and get to work. Or you could be a man and do without the AC. The offer is a serious one, if you wanna sell it, email.
bobby <email address on file>
Bridgewater, Virginia USA - Thursday, April 19, 2001 at 17:31:39

ok fine, $3002, since your so hard to deal with.  Well maybe my expectations of a car thats over 10 years old aren't as high as yours. But I have nearly ground up restored my '88 for less than $3000. Including a COMPLETE interior change to black leather, replaced exhaust, front brake rotors, brake bomb, various modules and relays, lights and switches. I did it myself, but I am damn proud of what I've done, and I have one sweet ass car that gets my ass up and down the road. I may not have AC (yet), but thats what the f**kin sunroof is for. Shes got a 190K on her and still haulin ass. In fact, she hasnt died on me once since i owned it. But then again, I know something about cars.  and you say your car has a value of -$2000 on your page. So why dont you accept my offer if your car is so worthless
bobby <email address on file>
Bridgewater, Virginia USA - Monday, April 23, 2001 at 22:15:26

Axel's reply:  Wow, 3001 whole dollars?  I can hardly contain myself.   The only money I'm interested in recirculating is the money that has been spent on this car.  If you can keep my car on the road, and maintained for the next 10 years for $2200, then perhaps you would be interested in being my mechanic.  The "shocks" you mention was actually the hydraulic self-leveling system, a difficult and skill & labor intensive job, that I seriously doubt could be done in an hour by anyone.  And I didn't buy a 750iL (a black on black one), to bake in it.  Without an air conditioner, this car is an oven in the sun.  I have no trouble being a man, but I'd prefer not to be a perpetually sweaty man.  To your second comment- I applaud your ability to restore your car, but I do not have those skills.  When the temperature inside the car is 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius), a sunroof won't help much.  I know something about cars too, but admittedly not how to build them from the ground up.  And something having a paper value of -$2000 and being willing to sell it for the paper value are two different things.   I have far too much money invested in this car to sell it for a few thousand dollars, but thanks for the offer.

That's what happens when... people that should own Toyotas buy previously abused expensive-to-repair cars and don't know how to fix them (or even where to bring them to get fixed).  The 7 series are meant for people that do not have to ask 'how much?' but just sign a check.  With a little bit of savoir faire one can keep one of these wonderful beasties way past the 200k mile mark on an ordinary budget.  I don't think BMW itself owes you a single cent. You should have questioned the dealer when you were handing over the various bits and pieces of the $32k maintenance cost.
ladislav  (735)  <email address on file>
New Jersey USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 17:58:09

Axel's reply:  If you're so accustomed to signing checks without asking "how much" then maybe you could send me a blank check.  I promise, I won't fill it out for more than I've paid for this car.  The only way my car will make it way past the 200k mile mark is behind a tow truck.  A little "savoir faire" [knowing how to do], while it might save a few dollars on parts or repairs (although you're not concerned with dollars), "savoir faire" would not have prevented this car from constantly breaking down.  But this really isn't about money or budgets, it's about a car that keeps breaking down with no end in sight, no matter how much is spent on it.  The pain in the neck it has been and continues to be.  That after 100 times in the shop and $32,000 this car is still not working!  (And I would not consider a BMW one of those cars where you look the other way when it's time to pay the bill.  Rolls Royce or Bentley perhaps, or an exotic sports car, but not BMW).  I expected something much more reliable from BMW, not a bag of trouble.

Hi, I am truly sorry to here and read about all your problems. I have browsed trough your problems, and I see that coolant leak has haunted you for a long time.  I have just browsed and perhaps I have missed some things, if this is already looked after excuse my sloppiness.  I think:  I think itīs possible that you have a head gasket problem, due to overheating.  Best Regards TB740
Tobias B.  (1992 740)  <email address on file>
Stockholm, Sweden - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 13:51:00

Axel's reply:  Nobody is more sorry than I am about the problems I have had with this car.  The continuous coolant leaks do indeed haunt me.  Thanks for your comments.

What does this say about BMW dealers?  I must confess that most times I bring my car to the dealer something else breaks.  This is simply true however much I would like to complement these guys on a job well done. Obviously whatever breaks is only partly related to whatever they were fixing.  I think I can correctly mimick the face of a service desk representative saying: 'Umhh, I don't care to remember that these things are related'. The BMW representative stated this after the OBC no longer gave warning that my hand brake was 'on' while driving away,..... after they 'fixed' the handbrake (brake shoe).  As I virtually need to car to make money I can't allow myself to crawl under it for every major repair - let alone for the bl**dy wheather (yeh, no garage).   Dealers are stealers and this (the commented on story) may be a prime example of it. >>No matter<< the 'technical capabilities' of the person in question. Any BMW dealer should be able to fix a 750 for $30000 no matter what is wrong with it and return it into a crisp state. (I could do it and I am not trained for it)  Wish I could find a mechanic that knows something more then Opel or Ford. As long as I can't I'll have to trust the dealer network.  So did this victim. Regards, WimE '92 740   Thumbs down for every mechanic that is just a paid 'bolter' (someone who bolts?) from 8 to 4.
WimE  (1992 740)
Netherlands - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 05:19:37

Axel's reply:  It would be one thing if the car was in good working condition after 100 visits and $32,000, but it's far from it.  That's what bothers me.

Axel, After reading through all the history your 750's been through I noticed you had one of the problems my 735iL has. You mention it had a problem sometimes not starting first time. I have the same problem with it not starting first time(sometimes) and I have found no pattern to it at all. Thank God I didn't buy a 750iL, my 735iL hasn't had many problems(nowhere compared to yours) and is alot cheaper to maintain. Anyway, I was just wondering what fixed the starting problem, if it ever got fixed.  Thanks from New Zealand, Rodney
Rodney S.  (735iL)  <email address on file>
Tauranga, New Zealand - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 03:47:00

Axel's reply:  After a couple visits to the shop, the starting problem was fixed.  I believe it was the fuel pressure regulators being replaced that fixed it, however, I don't know if your 735iL has anything similar.

You complain so much about the car...but honestly, do you really think those problems just happen on their own? All these people who responded are absoloutely right. If I were you I would have been questioning the service of your repair shop. Its a BMW 750iL...the word lemon does not exist with these cars! If you're having so many problems, then its one of two things:  1) You take it to the wrong repair shop  2) You TAKE IT TO THE WRONG REPAIR SHOP!!!  c' your eyes! You're getting lowballed.
Gearhead  (1988 735i)  <email address on file>
USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 00:21:11

Axel's reply:  1) I bought the wrong car and  2) I BOUGHT THE WRONG CAR!!!

I think he went to a stealer...not a dealer! Why? 'Cos when I got a quote from my BMW dealer here in Hong Kong they wanted ~USD2,500 for the whole A/C system...not "just" the compressor. Plus the fact that here in Hong Kong there's only one BMW dealer they can pretty much charge whatever they want.  But then again, I took mine to a good mechanic who used to work at the dealer and got the whole A/C system replaced (condensor, compressor and all...) for a mere USD1,200 18 months ago and so far the A/C is still cold as hell! =)   I know the 735i that I own has a lot fewer problems than a regular 750 (750s are known to overheat much easier than 735s)...but despite the fact that I have owned the car since new and had been taking good care of it, it still cost me close to USD35,000 total in maintenance and repairs (for the 9 years, 70K miles). But currently the car is driving almost like new and quite honestly feels far better than the used car price currently would reflect.  Richard
Richard  (735i)  <email address on file>
Hong Kong - Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 23:49:39

Axel's reply:  If you're driving a 735i, I doubt very much the cost of the air conditioner is the same as the 750iL.

Axel: I know how you must feel with a car that you paid good money to buy and has been a financial nightware ever since. My suggestion is this: forget about fixing major and expensive subsystems; try to diagnose and understand the apparent problem yourself before bringing into the stealer- ship; avoid trying to make the car perfect; I think you have been brainwashed by the dealer's horrendous pricing structure. It seems they have made you pay for the same repair many times over.
Fabio M.  (1987 735i)  <email address on file>
Toronto, Ontario Canada - Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 19:59:10

Axel: this is my advice to you if you want to fix your car relatively inexpensively. First, get an independent glass repair shop to quote you a price, not the dealer price. The dealer may even sublet this work to other glass repair shops and tell you that only dealer mechanics worked on your car. Second, ignore the engine warning chime/light if nothing is physically malfunctioning. Third, bring your car to an air conditioning repair shop and have them remove the compressor from your car, rebuild it, and reinstall it. This should cost no more than $500 at a competitive shop. Realize that BMW air conditioning components are widely available and cheap in the aftermarket arena. I was quoted $612 at the dealer for a condenser for my 1987 735i; an aftermarket supplier wants $279. Fourth, have your coolant leak problem inspected by a good independent garage. If it is a head gasket leak, then the repair is mainly a labour-intensive, not skill-intensive job. Any competent garage can handle the repair for under $1000. Fifth, the burnt out driver's seat pad can be replaced easily or just live with it. Sixth, have your drivetrain noise checked out by, once again, an independent garage, not the dealer. Seventh, the shimmy in the steering wheel is likely front upper control arm bushings that are worn; the rear bushings also wear out and cause wandering steering. Again, this is a simple job for the average import mechanic and can done for under $300. Lastly, your leaky rear shocks should be replaced free of charge (check your warranty). Also, check if the problem is not the hydraulic self-levelling system leaking. This expensive and hard-to-repair feature is a nuissance and from what I hear, you would be adivised to purchase a self-levelling delete kit from Bavarian Autosport (check and save the expense. I hope that my suggestions help you to re-assess the amount you expect to spend in order to fix your car.
Fabio M.  (1987 735i)  <email address on file>
Toronto, Ontario Canada - Saturday, April 28, 2001 at 11:23:36

Axel's reply:  If I forget the major and subsystems, what am I left with?   Putting air in the tires?  That would be great, except the car would not stay running.  I gave up long ago trying to make the car perfect, after the first few repairs.  I would have settled for a car that wasn't leaking any fluid and didn't have any erroneous warning indicators sounding off.  The only thing I've been brainwashed by is BMW's marketing- that this car is the "Ultimate Driving Machine" unless that includes monthly visits to the repair shop.  The reason I've paid for the same repairs is because the same things keep breaking, not because the dealership has somehow tricked me into doing them again.

Axel's reply to Fabio's follow-up:  Thanks for your follow-up remarks- so far, that's the most helpful anyone has tried to be.  About the glass- I am aware the dealership subcontracts that kind of work out, and I did get a couple estimates from independent glass shops, and each said the same thing: most likely the front windshield will break during the repair attempt.  The chimes are enough to drive anyone bonkers after a while- I nearly did during the year of the tail light assembly malfunction; now it's much less often and more tolerable, but I would still rather I didn't have to hear or see it for no reason.  The air conditioner advice is good and a rebuild might be the best way to get it working again.  Coolant leak I believe is the head gasket and having that kind of labor intensive, lower skill work done by an independent makes sense- I had the oil pan gaskets done that way, saving thousands.  The seat heat is not really a big deal, more an annoyance that the thing burnt out like a light bulb.   Drive train noise has been a mystery for a couple years- come and goes, nobody is exactly sure where it comes from, and the cost to fix the possible causes is too much.   The shimmy has also been a little bit of a mystery, because I have had the bushings replaced, and the wheels aligned repeatedly, but the shimmy comes and goes.  I did once have the self-leveling system replaced, which you're right was rather expensive and difficult to do (from what I was told), and I'm not sure if the leak now is coming from that or just the shocks.  Your suggestions do help me reassess what I might have done, if I were to do any further work on this car.  Thanks again.

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