turboswede MegaDork
April 20, 2015 12:52 p.m.

Thread title inspired by a friend who said the car was "the size of a small moon" Since I'm a Star Wars nerd and I don't particularly like this car.... (its a bit over the top for my tastes), but its a great cruiser and the engine is pretty nice, would make a good swap candidate.

The car in question is a 1994 BMW 740iL in black with black leather interior and 200K. Picked it up in Modesto, California and drove it home to Portland, Oregon. The only real issues were the slop in the steering and vibrations in the drivetrain along with mushy brakes. The driver's seat height adjustment and the sunroof is broken.

Here it is shortly after we picked it up at one of the local Cars and Coffee events:

Ordered a bunch of suspension and brake parts for it. Figured it could use a bit more low, so I bought some lowering springs (they are specifically for cars with the auto-leveling rear suspension) along with bumpsteer/camber correction spacers since I don't like to do things poorly when it comes to suspension and brakes.

Then I started in on the work:

This is the brake fluid, believe it or not. I suspect new hoses and rebuilt calipers may be in its future:

Lets start reassembling things:

Back on the ground again, now moar lower. Also wheel bolts can go suck a berk, especially with 18" factory wheels.

More work to come. Need to finish the front end, the backing tins rub on the rotors due to the spacers, there's some bolts that need to be torqued properly and the brake system desperately needs to be flushed. Had to get it rolling so the A/C guys could work in my grosh, so lots of last minute thrashing to get it to this point.

From there its onto rebuilding the rear shocks, installing the rear lowering springs and the hydraulic dampers or "bombs" for the auto leveling system to help get the suspension from being rock hard anymore.

The seat and roof shouldn't be too hard to fix, but are lower on the priority list right now. Might look at why the rear sunshield doesn't work, but I suspect stripped gears. Will probably install a backup camera system since its hard to see out the back with the tinted window.

End goal is to finish the work, detail it and sell it on down the road to fund my own Answer.

Mezzanine Reader
April 20, 2015 1:25 p.m.

Wow, productive weekend!

Car looks great with more low. I know what you mean about these seeming over the top, but I can also say that it is a good looking car. I like them more as they age- they're starting to be less common, so they're easy to spot as an enthusiast-owned car when you see them in this condition. Just like my wife's W124.

mazdeuce PowerDork
April 20, 2015 1:28 p.m.

Very cool car. Is it impolite of me to ask what all the bits and pieces to re-do the suspension cost? These were expensive, and they look expensive, but are they expensive?

e46potenza Reader
April 20, 2015 1:32 p.m.

Nice! I love the bigger bmws. A good friend of mine had an older 535i that is absolutely beautiful

turboswede MegaDork
April 20, 2015 1:51 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

The parts are fairly cheap on RockAuto as they are mostly shared with the E34 chassis.

I suspect the control arms need to be replaced, but I thought I'd try to just replace the bushings and tie-rods. If the front is still sloppy, then I'll buy replacement arms from RockAuto since they aren't too expensive there (maybe $50 each and there's 4 total) and now that I've got nearly every tie-rod tool in the world it shouldn't be a big deal to swap them out.

I think Turner sells a complete front end rebuild kit for about $500 which includes the arms, drag link, tie-rods and perhaps some new bolts. Probably the better way to go if you're just going for once and done.

The spring set was about $300, dampers, rotors, pads, etc. aren't too bad and decent ones are available thanks to parts sharing with other BMW chassis.

The only real concern with these is the HVAC system and the automatic transmissions. Both are expensive and difficult to replace/repair. Luckily both work well in my case, so I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best.

turboswede MegaDork
April 20, 2015 2:01 p.m.

In reply to Mezzanine:

Thanks. Yeah, its not herrafrush, but its settled a bit, which was what I was going for. I might keep an eye out for a snazzier set of wheels with different offset that might fill the fenders a bit more. I'm not a big fan of spacers, especially with those stupid, stupid wheel bolts.

Oddly there's a green one just up the block and it appears to be in nice shape. You do see more of the inline-6 versions though, which have different grills so they are easier to spot. The V8's and especially 12's are less common since they were more expensive when new and were more expensive to maintain (I think the 12's cost about $1 a mile in maintenance according to a BMW tech buddy of mine) so they tended to become trade fodder and quickly flushed through the auction ranks.

chiodos Reader
April 20, 2015 3:24 p.m.

Cool car, a side note on the v12s another reason you dont see many...any.. is ontop of super reliable german electronics (sarcasm) the v12s needed two ecus to run, one for the drivers bank and one for the passenger..fun times

turboswede MegaDork
April 20, 2015 3:29 p.m.

In reply to chiodos:

Yep they were basically two i6's sharing a common crank. There's a reason why some have found their way into Lambo replicas as they are pretty reliable mechanically and electronics is typically resolved in the aftermarket.

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