Comments from Jason F.
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This page is commentary just from Jason F. of the United States, also generated from the posting I placed on the BMW enthusiast's discussion forum, telling of my750.com. With his amazingly thorough analysis of the facts, Jason definitely deserves his own page, and a pat on the back for a job well done.
I sympathize with you over the problems youve had with your 1989 BMW 750iL. The extent and cost of the repairs to which you have committed the car are staggering. I would not be surprised to learn that you own The Most Repaired 750iL.
It is true, as you have learned from research on the BMW forums, that maintaining a BMW, and most especially the 750iL, can be rather expensive. You have undoubtedly read all of the sad stories by posters about the innumerable problems with their 750s. Through your own experience and vicariously through the experience of other owners, you appear to be convinced that there is something basically wrong with the 750iL, that your car has required far more repair than necessary, and that the costs you have incurred are not reasonable. I have thoroughly read all of the information you have posted on your website, including the full extent of your repair and maintenance history.
So, now I have some comments to make.
1) First of all, you bought a used car. You say the previous CEO owner meticulously maintained the car, but you basically have no idea how he drove it, do you? Later, I will explain why its quite likely that he did not take care of his car very well at all. How a car is treated during its first year of driving can have radical implications for its future performance. Also, since you are not the original owner of the car, you carry less weight in your complaints with BMW NA, so I am not surprised you are not getting anywhere with your communications. Finally, you appear to have known what the maintenance and repair history was for the car before you bought it, yet you bought it anyway! You lose points here in your case.
2) It is widely known that the 88 and 89 750iL had bugs. Like any new series-production car, there are always a few bugs. This is why it is not always the best idea to buy the first year or two of a new series car. I am anxiously anticipating the 2002 7-series, but I have no intention of being one of the first to buy it. A few of the problems you have described are classic early-750iL problems. If you had done as much research before you bought the car, as you now have done, you would probably have educated yourself out of the purchase. So, you lose points here too.
3) You didnt buy an aftermarket used-car warranty with your car. Even though your car had 73,012 miles when you bought it, you could have gotten a used-car warranty. You would have saved Thousands in repair costs! You lose points again.
3) About your repairs: Without getting into details (write me if you want more information), it is clear that the dealer youre taking your car to is either incompetent, fraudulent or both. Youve had things replaced when it probably wasnt necessary. Youve had other items not replaced when it probably was necessary. I see evidence of bad trouble-shooting and diagnosing. I see evidence of faulty repairs resulting in problems recurring. You have been overcharged for many of your repairs. You should have caught on to these problems earlier. Your defense of the dealer is foolish. The dealer is not your friend (or is he?), and he has no interest in saving you money. Your service advisor may be very friendly and intelligent, but the mechanics and mechanics supervisor may be anything but. Blaming the cars repair requirements entirely on its design and engineering parameters is not reasonable considering the existence of a number of other repair-inducing factors which I will discuss later, as well as the fact that you have no solid evidence that the extent of the problems you have experienced are common amongst 750iL owners. More points lost.
4) On a number of different occasions I see a problem with you presenting too many issues at once to the dealer. When you present a lot of problems at once, you essentially give the dealer carte blanche to charge you as much as they think you will tolerate. Youve also probably agreed too readily to too many repairs. Youre still losing points.
5) You shouldnt be taking your car to the BMW dealer. Almost without exception, the price you pay will be much higher than what you pay at a good independent shop. As well, the work done on your car at a dealer is not guaranteed to be better. In your case, I think that is painfully clear. You lose more points.
6) Would I be mistaken in guessing that you either live in Beverly Hills or very nearby?
If so, does your dealer know that? If they do, youve given them another excuse to find problems with your car that dont exist, seriously overcharge you, and perhaps even sabotage your car so that it develops more problems that they will later be very happy to repair for a great deal of money. I live in an area near San Jose where the average home price is higher than in Beverly Hills and people know that when they know that they invariably charge more.
7) Do you belong to the BMW Car Club of America (BMWCCOA)? When you do, the dealer charges you 10-20% less for parts, and perhaps 10% less for service. As well, when the dealer knows you are member, they assume you know more than the average and are less likely to try and take advantage of you.
8) Here are my observations concerning the history of your car prior to your purchase.
You say the previous owner meticulously maintained his car. I gather that you know this because he kept meticulous records. If he was as organized as you are, then yes he probably kept good records. But, noting problems with ones car and bringing it in frequently to be looked at, does not necessarily equate with someone taking good care of their car. I indicated before that you really have no idea how he drove his car.
Note these important facts:
a) He replaced the wheels and tires soon after he bought the car, most likely to increase handling performance and appearance. If it was more for performance, this suggests someone who liked to drive the car somewhat aggressively.
b) These new tires needed replacing only 14 months later, suggesting aggressive driving. The brake pads needed replacing only 17 months from new. This also suggests aggressive driving.
c) Only 7-8 months later, he had the front brake pads and rotors replaced. This is aggressive driving. Look forward in time for additional pad/rotor replacements having been done. They add up to aggressive driving.
d) 12 months after the tires were replaced last, theyre noted as wearing down quite a bit, and although the records dont show it, they were probably replaced soon thereafter.
e) Later his rear window spontaneously bursts? Really? Sounds like the kind of thing that might happen if one were putting a great deal of torsion on the car, perhaps from excessive aggressive driving.
f) Later, although tire replacements arent noted, quick tire wear is reported. Aggressive driving.
g) Numerous alignments are needed. Aggressive driving.
h) The rest of the repairs have to do a great deal with coolant leak issues, which in my opinion werent properly diagnosed in the first place, requiring numerous subsequent returns to be sorted out.
i) I dont see an appropriate schedule of Oil, Inspection I and Inspection II services having been done. I only see one Major service done for the nearly seven years that the previous owner had it. There are a number of Oil services mentioned, but no periodic oil changes. This is not a well-maintained car!
The previous owner may very well have beaten the hell out of this car for the time that he had it. How do you know that he did not? If he thrashed this car from the beginning until he got rid of it, he may very well have set it up for serious problems into the future.
In reading your own repair and maintenance history, I see so many things to comment on, but Ive already spent enough time commenting. If you would like to know more information, feel free to ask me. So, let me summarize.
Some of the repairs you have had to endure have been necessary and expected, but certainly not all of them have. You actually have been lucky not to have experienced some of the problems that are common to the 750iL, including Intake Manifold Gaskets, drive shaft problems, etc.
1) It is arguable that the 88 and 89 750iLs had some design flaws. To what extent this is the case is not entirely clear, but the early electronics are known to have had problems. It would be hard to say to what extent bad design/engineering and manufacturing are contributing to your problems.
2) It is a joke that lemon cars are ones that are built on a Friday, but it is not impossible that your car was assembled originally by a number of rookies who just didnt know what they were doing. You may have what you can call a late-lemon, one whose problems didnt really begin to surface until long after the first year litmus test.
3) It is absolutely clear to me your dealer has incompetent and/or fraudulent mechanics. A number of examples: The parking light problem you have? Its a classic problem with a simple and very cheap solution. It is suspicious that your dealer cant solve the problem. Why will it cost $1,200 to repair your windshield molding, and why does it require replacing the windshield. Just not true. The wheel shimmy may be caused by worn bushings in the upper or lower control arms. The dealer should know this. An air condition compressor does not cost $2,500. Etc, etc, etc. You should seriously consider investigating the dealer and suing them. I suspect this the biggest source of your problems. Meanwhile, STOP taking your car there.
4) Your cars history with its previous owner is completely questionable. You have no idea how well it was treated, and in fact it may have been treated quite badly. If this is the case, it has set you up with some serious problems now.
If you are serious about pursuing the issue that there is something basically faulty about many of the components of the 750iL, I suggest you do some serious research. Somehow find out what the repair statistics are for the approximately 7,500 750ilLs sold in the U.S. for the 88, 89 and 90 years. Compare these statistics with other BMWs. Compare them with other manufacturers. Is there a case? I would like to know, myself. You should also consider getting in touch with someone higher up in the organization. It is the job of the Public Relations department to give pat answers to standard questions and complaints. Thats not your best line of attack.
For reference, I own a 1990 750iL with 126,014 miles.
I purchased the car with 65,500 miles in August of 1997 for an even $20,000. I purchased an after-market warranty for the car for $1,500 that covered the car for 2yrs/24,000miles. I have had the car in the shop 26 times since I bought it not including various periodic oil changes and visits to replace minor parts like wipers and wheel bolt covers. The total cost of repairs and maintenance (not including the little visits) has been $12,972, of which I have had to pay $9,868 (the warranty covered the rest). I have enjoyed the car immensely and feel that I cannot complain about any of the various repairs that have been necessary since I tend to drive the car as if it were a sports car.
Let me ask you a couple of questions: What type of oil are you using in your car? How often are you having the oil changed? What happened with the other 750iL you had? Are most of the problems that youre getting fixed ones that the dealer is telling you that you have or ones that you are reporting to the dealer?
I hope my comments and information are helpful to you. I wish you luck.
Jason F. (1990 750iL) <email address on file>
San Jose, California USA - Saturday, April 21, 2001 at 19:48:00
Axel's reply: Outstanding! Finally, a well thought out, intelligent response. I'm very impressed. Maybe I've been wrong. Maybe the dealership has been taking me for a ride. Maybe the prior owner did abuse the car, although I too purchased a set of new wheels & tires, and had to replace the tires once. Maybe I'm the speed demon who wrecked the car. But really, how might that be possible? This is a car that can, if pressed, reach the speed limit in first gear, with four more gears to go. It can get to 90 MPH in second gear. It has a top speed of 155MPH (250K/hr), almost three times the U.S. speed limit. This is supposed to be the "Ultimate Driving Machine." Haven't you seen any BMW commercials? Do they look like they're driving conservatively, in any of them? Yet, I never drove this car beyond it's performance limitations- I don't even think anyone could get close to them on any sort of regular basis. In fact, the majority of the time it is driven within the bottom 25% of its capabilities. What we're left with is a car, albeit with a lot of luxurious performance potential, that just can't stay free of problems.
The front windshield and molding have to be installed together, and it is unlikely the front windshield will remain unbroken when removed, that's why it will probably be necessary to replace the front windshield if I want to repair the molding. The rear window burst while in an underground parking lot at very low speed, as it was going up the driveway- that's what I was told and had it confirmed by someone else, not as a result of agressive driving. I agree- sounds weird, but that's the way it was supposed to have happened. I may have misnamed the major inspections, but they were done- I saw the records for one and did the other one under my ownership. If it's true that lemons are built on Fridays, then this one must have been put together on the Friday before Christmas, because this car has been quite a present to me. The car has had the oil servicing done by the book, whenever the mileage or indicator designated, and whatever oil the dealership uses I assume is endorsed by BMW. The repairs that have been done have been a combination of both direct inquires by me and suggested work by them. When the car is leaking fluid like a sieve, or has indicators sounding off regularly, it's not hard to know it needs some work.
And congratulations, you are the only one that seems to have noticed that I had a 750iL before this one. It was demolished in an accident when someone ran a stop sign at a blind intersection and broad-sided the car. It was too bad also- it only had about 35,000 miles on it and lots of costly customizing.
Thank you for your time and effort, and I will give your analysis more consideration.
Yes, I found your reply on your website, but
only after the second time of looking at the latest "andmore" page.
Well, I hope you find my comments useful. There is no doubt that you have experienced
a uniquely messed-up car. I would recommend fixing the minimum of what
is not working on it now and simply getting rid of it. It seems unlikely
to me that the windshield would be broken in the process of removing it. It
just shouldn't be. I think you should be able to forget about the minor
leaking from the rear shocks. The air conditioning compressor shouldn't
be anywhere near $2,500 to replace. The shimmy should be easily fixed
by replacing any worn bushings -- which should only be a few hundred dollars
with labor. Good luck.
Jason F. (1990 750iL) <email address on file>
San Jose, California USA - Friday, April 27, 2001 at 09:07:00
Axel's reply: Fixing the car would cost more than the car's value. It simply doesn't make any sense to put another dollar into this car. Selling it, however, is not really my goal, but to use my experiences with it to inform others.
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