Forum 750iL owners
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These pages of commentary were generated from a posting I placed on a BMW enthusiast's discussion forum, telling of  According to many Forum members, my troubles with the car are the fault of the dealership where the car was serviced, the mechanics who repaired it, or I ruined it with my driving, or it was the prior owner's maintenance habits and driving style.  Everywhere but the one place the blame is due:  THE CAR itself.  What's interesting is that in spite of their collective effort to defend BMW and the 750iL, the nature of the car is evident.   These pages were created to address the Forum members both as a group, and to respond individually to their comments.

Axel's reply, to the group:  Thanks for all of your feedback.   A common theme with your commentary is that BMW is not responsible for this car having problems, but I disagree- the car was built by BMW, marketed by BMW, all replacement parts were supplied by BMW, and the car was maintained by people trained and endorsed by BMW.  The BMW logo is on virtually every single component in the car, and you want me to blame someone else?  And despite your conspiracy theories, I highly doubt the dealership where the car was serviced was sabotaging my car to bring it in more often.  The dealership I have been bringing my car to is among the most reputable and highly scrutinized dealerships in the country, thought to have the most demanding BMW customer base in the world.  Yes, dealerships admittedly cost more money than an independent mechanic, but that's the price one must pay to get someone qualified and certified to work on a 750iL.  I don't see how the car breaking down constantly and requiring repetitious repairs is their fault.  While blame can be directed in many places, ultimately I think it is BMW who bears the responsibility for this car.  Many of you appear to be mechanics, performing maintenance yourself on your cars.  I didn't realize that was a prerequisite to owning a 750iL.  I, however, did not purchase a 750iL so I would have to crawl underneath it every time something goes wrong.  Had I bought it with that in mind, as it turns out, I would have been living under my car.

I own a 1993 750iL with approximately 70,000 miles, which I have owned for 5 years.   It is my wife's daily driver.  It has been reliable for the most part, with a single, notable exception which required me to personally remove and rebuild the cylinder heads and some associated parts (cost $1500 for parts, about 30 of my hours for labor).   Having read the repair history listed on the web site, I offer the following comments:  1.  The 750 is an extremely complex car.  It should not be purchased used unless the purchaser has the skill to fix it him or her self.  This requires (a) enough mechanical skill so that you're comfortable with tearing down and reassembling an internal combustion engine, and (b) a decent, working understanding of low-voltage DC electronic systems.  If you don't have these skills DON'T BUY ONE.    2.  The repair history shows the owner of this web site has been getting absolutely horrible service from those "certified BMW dealers" who are purporting to fix his car.  4 bad radiators is so statistically improbable as to be virtually impossible.  I would conjecture that at least two of them were replaced purely to pad the bill.   3.  BMW made less than 10,000 E32 750's total and only 230 in the last two years ('93 and '94).  Nobody knows how to work on them and the dealers just see you as a cash cow.   4.  The unfortunate, economic fact is that the big profits at the dealer's repair facility are not found in competant and thorough diagnosis combined with specifically-targeted repairs.  The profits are found in selling parts with a substantial markup (the markup is pure profit with no offsetting cost) and installing the parts while charging for the listed ("book") time allotment.  An efficient (not equal to "good") mechanic can install a part much faster than the standard allotment.  If the dealer can charge the standard time while actually doing the work faster, he can increase his profit margin by 50 to 100 percent.  It appears that the owner of this web site has been getting that sort of treatment in spades.   5.  You can get a lemon in any car.  If your lemon happens to be a BMW, you'll pay dearly.  The scariest part of the repair history is the really big, expensive stuff hasn't even been touched!
Jim  (1993 750iL)
Seattle, Washington USA - Friday, May 04, 2001 at 15:43:14

Axel's reply:  That is scary.  If the worst is yet to come, I'm in big trouble!

I have also read the entire sad story. I am currently driving my 3rd 750i/92. Had two 735i before. With all my BMWs combined I did not have that many problems. And I had two real lemons (1800ti SA and 2500A).They all have been bought used an maintained by BMW dealers all over the country and myself. The only real lemon I ever owned was a brand new Carrera 3.2 911. I sold it after 9 month and I will never even sit in one.  Never had any electrical problems on any of my E32s, just the standard things 1 complete drive shaft, 1 bomb, plenty of pads and rotors. No mufflers, no batteries, no cats.  The cars a fairly well made, people have to understand how they work and read the manual.  If expensive repairs occur to frequently-->dump/sell. I had 3 S-class (W124) Mercedes cars, I think they were even better but I like the low profile of the E 32 more.  BTW Lemons are traditionally manufactured on Mondays over here.  Regrads Ekkehart
Ekkehart R.  (1992 750iL)
Bochum, Germany - Wednesday, April 25, 2001 at 02:06:54

Axel's reply:  I too had some good results with my former BMWs, all four of them, that's why I found it so hard to believe that this car could be so full of problems and probably is part of the reason why I stuck with it, trying to be loyal to BMW, thinking it would stabilize at any time, but it just never did.

get real.
Henry J.  (1989 750iL)  <email address on file>
San Diego, California USA - Saturday, April 21, 2001 at 02:18:34

Axel's reply:  That's it?  And I paid taxes towards your education?   Someone get me a refund.

There is always someone else you can find to blame, huh? Sorry to be blunt, but you bought a USED car with 73k on it, buddy. It aint new. Thinking that BMWNA owes you something is ridiculous. There is a reason you were able to buy a 7 year old car that cost $80k for under $20k.....they are expensive once out of warranty. If you had bought a porsche 911 cab or 911TT (similar orig price)used in 97, it probably would have been much less repair $, but you would have paid $50k for it, not <$20k. There is a reason why the E32s depreciate so fast. If you had done your homework you would have known that. From the looks of your repair record, it is your dealer that has bent you over, not BMWNA. They seemed to cause more problems than they fixed. The fact that you keep taking it back to the shop every 2 weeks is some point didn't it occur to you that you should either: 1) find someone else who knows how to fix this damn thing or 2) get rid of this lemon and buy a different car (whether or not BMW) The fact that you put up with this for the past 5 years makes me question your common sense. Sell the car to someone better equipped to handle the problems, and move on. No, not handle it $$ wise, but being smarter about getting things fixed CORRECTLY the first time. Now, don't get me wrong, the price to repair these cars is exorbitantly high, but again, where else can you buy a V12 for <$20k (back then) or <$10k (today)????? Try getting work done to a V12 Ferrari or Jag some time. It makes the 750 seem cheap. Funny, I bought a '91 750il with similar mileage as when you bought yours, and spent serious money ($7k) the first trip to the shop right after I bought it (transmission, self leveling shocks, throttles, etc). But I expected it, and factored it into my purchase price. Car has been back in only once in 2 years, and that was a minor, <$400 repair. But, I have a GOOD shop that works on mine. That makes all the difference in the world. So, I am sorry you have had such a sh~tty experience, but I think you may be barking up the wrong tree by bitching at BMWNA. txhedg '91 750il 96k never run better.  I feel much better after that rant!!!!
txhedg  (1991 750iL)  <email address on file>
Houston, Texas USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 17:03:24

Axel's reply:  Thinking that the repair history of this car is acceptable and that BMW bears no responsibility for it is ridiculous.  I don't see how the car being bought used has anything to do with the car's absurd repair history, from nearly the beginning.   I am more interested in the 100 repairs over the life of the car, regardless of at what point I became its owner.  I'm not trying to perform a used car price analysis, but am trying to find out how many other 750iL owners there are who have experienced the same disaster I have had with mine, and it hasn't taken long to find others.  I put up with the car for five years because I thought surely the car will at some point be repaired and stay repaired, but it's never happened.  In hindsight, something I didn't have the benefit of, you're right- it was not smart to hold onto the car.  The repetitive repairs have been happening not because the car was fixed incorrectly, but because the same things keep breaking down, and it would often take several visits to get some problems fixed.  Figuring out exactly what has been wrong with the car has been part of the problem.  Certainly there will be 750iLs that haven't had the same troubles, and good for you if you own one.  I haven't been as fortunate.  Your buddy, Axel.

Wow! What a story. I too am a '89 750il owner. I purchased mine December 2000. I paid $7,750.00 for the car that had 128K miles. Cosmetically ok but sme minor hail damage. Since the purchase I have spent app. $4400.00 to bring the car into pristine condition and factored this into my purchase decision. I must say that to date I am extremely pleased at my decision to buy this car and and the performance/value/price that I have received. A major factor in my decision to buy this car is that I have an INDEPENDENT BMW service center locally and they are extremely competent. I would NEVER go to a BMW Dealer for service...way too many horror stories. You can certainly vouch for that. Bring your car to Springfield...they will fix it! Best of luck!
Frank M.  (1989 750iL)  <email address on file>
Springfield, Missouri USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 12:50:19

Axel's reply:  If you have an independent mechanic in your area that works for you, great.  I haven't found one in my area.  The horror stories I've heard have not been focused on where the car is serviced, but on the car itself.

This is strange . I have a 1990 750il , 133,000 mi with only minor issues over the years. I have spent more money on my Jag than the 7.
Keith  (1990 750iL)  <email address on file>
Brandon, Mississippi USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 11:20:40

Axel's reply:  Lucky you.  What I am trying to find out is which of our cars is the exception, and which one is the rule.

Give him a break, and put the car on eBay...  Let's face it. This guy has a right to be pissed off about this car costing him so much money. It has cost him about a dollar a mile for over 20,000 miles in repairs alone. Holy cow!  If you want to keep the car, I'd focus my energy on finding a decent shop in your area. Multiple radiator replacements, for example, sound like there is clearly an underlying problem not being addressed in the cooling system. Find someone with the technical knowledge and business integrity to address it correctly, and the other remaining issues as well. The dealer is there to support the newer models with fluid changes, inspections, and warranty work. They gouge everyone else nine out of ten times with the older cars.  If you have had it with the car, and frankly I don't blame you at this point, put it up on eBay with what you would consider full disclosure. A DIYer would probably pay $6000 or more if it includes the nice wheels. That's better than handing him your car and $2000, right?  While I admire your spirit in going after BMW -- let's face it -- you are wasting your time. BMW knows full well these cars have certain weak spots (see the TSBs), and they are under no obligation to admit it if it is not safety related.  Even worse than wasting your money is wasting your time. Take the money after selling the car and buy an Accord. That way you can learn this lesson and get on with your life. Good luck and I hope this helps...
ITSA12  (1990 750iL)  <email address on file>
Reston, Virginia USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 16:12:11

Axel's reply:  Thanks, I appreciate your acknowledging that I just might have the right to be unhappy about this car.  A dollar a mile has been about the going rate for it.  How cow is right!  It's those "certain weak spots" you say BMW "knows full well" about- I want to find out more about those.  As soon as I have a satisfactory resolution, then I will move on from this car.  Not until then.

Axel, did you beat the piss out of the car?  I mean, 3 or 4 radiators. Were you constantly redlining this car?  Also, the dealer(s) you were going to sounds like a first class rip-off artist. If you were able to do 1/2 the work you mentioned and gotten the parts at Bavarian Autosport of bimmerparts, you'd have spent less than half the money you claim.  A little naive to expect BMWNA to do something when the car is so far out of warranty, though.
Rich  (1990 750iL)  <email address on file>
Andover, Massachusetts USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 11:21:54

Axel's reply:  Actually, the car has beaten the piss out of me.  (At first reading, I thought you were asking if I took a baseball bat to the car!)  I never redlined the car, always driving within the car's published limitations, and usually kept it below 4000 RPM.  When you consider I have only driven the car about 8000 miles per year, 3 radiators for me is indeed a joke.  A little naive of you if you think that I'm going to walk away from this car with nothing.  Not going to happen.

Yeah, these V12's are a real problem. Probably explains why I own E32 750iL, an 850CSi and a 550i 6-speed. Can't get enough of the V12 - best engine ever built by BMW.
Steve  (750iL, 850CSi, 550i)
USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 04:46:11

Axel's reply:  If you can't get enough, then maybe you would like to add a 750iL to your collection?

Damn tex! I couldn't have said it any better! Honestly though I'm so sick of these V12's I only have 2 750iL's and just walked away from an 91 850i yesterday. Maybe I'll find it tomorrow.
Guy S.  (two 1992 750iL cars)  <email address on file>
USA - Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 23:12:14

Axel's reply:  There is only one V12 I am sick of, and I drive it.

Selling for parts? :)  If you ever decide to part out the beast because of the 'negative net worth' let us know. I'm sure there are plenty of people here that would be interested in parts. Besides, you may actually end up with a 'net gain' :) Jusk kidding. If you think you pay alot for service talk to Ferrari those guys really pay through the nose for service.
Gary  (1989 750iL)  <email address on file>
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA - Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 21:54:59

Axel's reply:  I considered doing just that, but the car is too clean to pull apart.  Maybe I could turn the back end into a couch.

$1200 for windshield molding and a new windshield is required??? Sounds like the STEALER really has him hooked. My front windshield moulding flew off and was unretrievable. Ordered a new set for $275 and used silicone sealer for it. Holds it on really good. Much better than those flimsy plastic clips. Did the same for the rear window. Definitely much cheaper than buying a new windshield.
Bryan  (1988 750iL)  <email address on file>
Honolulu, Hawaii USA - Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 20:20:36

Axel's reply:  The $1200 includes the new windshield and labor for the installation; the molding will cost about the same as what you paid for yours.  While I could glue my car together, that's not how I would like to effect repairs, but thanks for the suggestion.

So, what's your point? They're all that way.  It does seem rather crazy, doesn't it. I believe I've had just about the same things go wrong with mine. I've spent maybe pushing $10 grand over the last three years and it still has things I want to fix. I just try not to think about it. And pray the wife doesn't find out. I've been going to trade for a Tahoe since a couple of months after I got the 750, just never quite bring myself to do it. Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Good luck.  Lin G. 1990 750iL
Lin G.  (1990 750iL)  <email address on file>
St. Pete, Florida USA - Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 20:17:22

Axel's reply:  That's what I'm trying to confirm.

Firstly, that'a a beautiful looking car. With the exception of the 4 radiators and the ridiculous cooling problems, the things that are going wrong wrong with that car look about standard for a 750.  I have been surprised at the number of things that go wrong with this car, as compared to my Japanese cars, which run year after year with nothing but oil and filter changes.  I gues you have to be willing to work on the car yourself, as I do, and I guess most of us on this forum do. This car is prohihibitively expensive to take to the dealer for any kind of upkeep at this age.  I certainly don't believe the car has negative value, unless you only consider the repairs at dealer-quoted rates.  Whatever you do don't junk it.  Rick - 1990 750iL
Rick S.  (1990 750iL)  <email address on file>
Klein, Texas USA - Tuesday, April 17, 2001 at 18:50:09

Axel's reply:  I agree- it's a beautiful looking car, and 4 radiators is ridiculous.  I don't really have to try to junk this car- it's doing it all by itself.

I'll give you $2001 today, a bargain for you.  If this vehicle runs, it must be worth at least this much. If I were you I would promptly get rid of such a poorly engineered, overplumbed, overweight, un-American sour lemon of a car.  Please let me help you in this regard. If you're not too far away, I'll come and get it.
Steve  (750iL)  <email address on file>
Michigan USA - Thursday, April 19, 2001 at 05:56:35

Axel's reply:  Unfortunately, I have way too much money into this car to sell it for $2001.  Would you consider $2001.95?  For the moment, I will be holding onto it, but thanks for the offer.  But you're right, however, it does appear to be "poorly engineered, overplumbed," and a "sour lemon of a car."   The car being "un-American" was never an issue with me.

Axel's follow-up:  You know, I actually thought Steve was being sarcastic, until a week later I read something he posted on the Forum and found out he was being serious!  Although it wasn't specifically addressed to me, both my car and I are mentioned in his diatribe.  (I guess he thought I wasn't looking).

Comments from Steve

Here are three additional pages, devoted to three other Forum members, who are all 750iL owners:

Comments from Jason F.

Comments from Henkka J.

Comments from Wiley

After someone asks the Forum to comment on, this is what follows.

Comments from Guy S.

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