SlickDizzy SuperDork
Jan. 10, 2012 10:25 p.m.

So, my father has decided that he wants to sell his pristine 96k mile '98 Ram 1500 and get into a late model 7-series. He has always wanted a big American car but likes BMW fit and finish. So, he has asked me to help him shop. He is looking at both E32 and E38's, as E38 740's seem to be dropping in price lately. I am pretty familiar with BMW's, I've done E28, E34 and E36, but have never fiddled with their V8 or V12. What say ye, GRM?

Jan. 10, 2012 10:31 p.m.

If I'm thinking right, some of them are boat anchors in wait.

pigeon SuperDork
Jan. 10, 2012 11:00 p.m.

I don't know much about the older cars, but early E65/66 cars are in the teens now. Generally reliable with one major flaw in the 745s - the coolant pipe under the intake fails at the seal allowing coolant to leak. There's repair kits that allow the repair to be done with the motor in the car relatively easily and cheaply. Other than that pretty solid cars. My '06 in my avatar is at 117k and runs strong and smooth.

Jan. 10, 2012 11:30 p.m.

My E38 is pretty similar to my E34.

Usual BMW stuff:

  1. Standard BMW Coolant System stuff
  2. Front Suspension (steering box and linkages VERY similar to the E34
  3. V8 HATES vacuum leaks
  4. Intake gaskets
  5. PCV Rear Cover
  6. Valve Cover gaskets
  7. Coil Pack Boots
  8. Transmission Fluid Check (there are stories about rather to flush or just R&R + filter. Mine has torque converter shudder (lock . . .unlock . . .rinse repeat) and I need to put in some additive that appears to work well)

Other than that, it been a dream to drive and will eat miles without any worries.

02Pilot Reader
Jan. 11, 2012 7:26 a.m.

The V8 cars have a disturbing tendency to consume timing chain guide rails. Any rattling from the front of the engine is likely this. It is not a cheap fix, as you would imagine. There are some other potential issues as well, but this is the big one, and common.

The V12 is basically two straight sixes, so there's two of everything, even ECUs. V12-specific parts are not cheap, even by BMW standards.

Jan. 11, 2012 9:55 a.m.

Fingers crossed!! Supposedly this only plagued VANOS (M62TUB44) equipped cars at a higher rate than non-VANOS (M62B44) V8s. Some M62TU have seen guides go as low as 80K.

According to a few trusted BMW indies, they claimed to have never done this job on non-VANOS cars . . . but remember, these cars rarely live that long due to transmissions and electronic gadgetry granting them an untimely pass to the scrap yard.

Both of my BMW V8 car are non-VANOS and so far I have replaced the tensioner as prescribe by BMW.

SlickDizzy SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2012 8:21 a.m.

Good info, all. I'll have to pay attention to the timing gear...I think we might be shopping for an E32, the E38's are nice but it seems like they have a tendency to be really shagged for our price range (~$4k). A lot of them seem to have trans issues too.

It also seems like E32 735's are shockingly good value...

93EXCivic SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2012 8:25 a.m.

All I know the E38 is the coolest BMW ever.

MG Bryan HalfDork
Jan. 12, 2012 8:27 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: All I know the E38 740I with the Sport Package is the coolest BMW ever.
Jan. 12, 2012 8:52 a.m.
SlickDizzy wrote: It also seems like E32 735's are shockingly good value...

And you can find them in Manual . . .

SlickDizzy SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2012 8:54 a.m.
MG Bryan wrote:
93EXCivic wrote: All I know the E38 740I with the Sport Package is the coolest BMW ever.

Funny enough, I lived in this atrocious duplex a few years ago, landlord was a total E36 M3head and never fixed anything. Smelled like pot every time he came by. He drove a black-on-black 740i sport, M-Parallels and all. I felt bad for the car.

E32's look great with them too. I wish I could find a SWB E32 with these wheels.

MG Bryan HalfDork
Jan. 12, 2012 9:05 a.m.

In reply to SlickDizzy:

I don't think I've ever seen a classy person get out of a sport pack 7 series. Even so, It's the only BMW I want, but I've been told I have the taste of a coke dealer.

SlickDizzy SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2012 9:11 a.m.

I've been drinking the BMW Kool-Aid since 2006, but give me an 8-series instead of the 7. Wish there were more around.

ansonivan Dork
Jan. 12, 2012 10:08 a.m.

I would have him look at 2001 e38's only, they're the best looking of the bunch. $10k should get him an excellent car.

E32's are out of the question in my opinion, discounting the extra problems brought on by age the e38 is still just a much nicer place to be.

E65's may be getting cheaper to buy but ownership is still expensive. Pigeon mentioned the coolant pipe problem but the n62's also suffer from a good number of oil leaks. The alternator mount oil seal is the most time consuming leak to fix and is quite common by 100k. Valve cover gaskets are a major pain to replace on this engine, it's all too easy to break a eccentric shaft sensor while pulling the cover which adds another $450 to the job. E65's are amazing chunks of engineering which eat the miles with a smile but they also represent a huge leap in complexity over the E38's.

SlickDizzy SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2012 10:14 a.m.

Unfortunately the budget is closer to $5k which rules out the 2001 E38. We're shopping 95-98 models.

pigeon SuperDork
Jan. 12, 2012 10:26 a.m.
ansonivan wrote: E65's may be getting cheaper to buy but ownership is still expensive. Pigeon mentioned the coolant pipe problem but the n62's also suffer from a good number of oil leaks. The alternator mount oil seal is the most time consuming leak to fix and is quite common by 100k. Valve cover gaskets are a major pain to replace on this engine, it's all too easy to break a eccentric shaft sensor while pulling the cover which adds another $450 to the job. E65's are amazing chunks of engineering which eat the miles with a smile but they also represent a huge leap in complexity over the E38's.

Quit scaring me! Mine's at 118k miles, out of warranty now, and consuming (or leaking, though I don't see any leaks) a quart every 2k miles. Prior to 100k miles it didn't use a drop between changes (12k or so intervals). I know I should sell but I love that tank.

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