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AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/28/17 8:33 a.m.

I have always loved the LWB E38, so when this popped into my local CL search (BMW, max $2500, posted today) I had to go take a look. Plan is to have this back on the market the first weekend in April.

So without further ado, I present my latest project:

classicJackets HalfDork
2/28/17 8:35 a.m.

I also love these. Excited to see how it goes!

Dusterbd13 PowerDork
2/28/17 8:58 a.m.

I want one.....

nocones UltraDork
2/28/17 9:02 a.m.

You should keep it. And name it Mando

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/28/17 10:42 a.m.

Here's the ad that started my wheels turning:

My initial thought was "if I could get it for $500, I'd be in the black just by selling the 18" M-Parallels." But it's a really clean car other than a couple exterior trim bits being held on with sheet metal screws, so my second thought was "I will take the Mazdeuce approach and learn something new, fix the engine, and drive it for a couple days to see what else it needs." I figure that even if it drives poorly, I can still part it out and do OK.

Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
2/28/17 2:44 p.m.

Nice looking car, I think you are going to make money either way you go. Congrats

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/28/17 4:01 p.m.

Tonight I will drop the lower oil pan and see if the guides have come apart. If the pan doesn't have chunks of guide material in it, I will install a new tensioner and start it up. It would be cool if that fixes it, but I am not counting on it being that easy.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) Reader
2/28/17 6:59 p.m.

Congrats, nice buy, I love that generation 7.

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/28/17 8:14 p.m.

I started it up to drive it into the shop and it was louder than yesterday and it didn't quiet down any so I'm committed to doing the full chains / guides / tensioner job. Ordered full kit for $415 on eBay.

This car is actually quite nice, aside from a couple dings and scrapes and the headliner sagging. The leather seats are faded but not damaged, although the pockets on both front seat backs are broken. Door panels are very nice. Front cup holder is broken. Air bag light is on. DSC light is on. Oil leaks from upper timing covers and valve covers. That's really all I know about it at this point.

Kendall_Jones HalfDork
2/28/17 8:51 p.m.

Thats quite a project, get ready for project creep! You need to pull the radiator, might as well do all the cooling. You need to pull the intake, might as change those gaskets.. You'll also need some tools to hold the cams (there is vanos involved - and those might need a rebuild too). a hundo here & there will add up.

I had a similar vintage 540i track car I picked up with busted timing chain guides. I found it was cheaper to get JY engine and swap that in then deal with all the "while I'm in there" stuff. This was almost 10 years ago, so maybe different now.


klb67 Reader
2/28/17 9:52 p.m.

As a law student at the University of Pittsburgh I drove brand new 1998 or 99 740 and 750iLs for several days when BMW was the courtesy car for a Fortune 500 Forum hosted in Pittsburgh. They had custom license plates, and the black 750iL was 007 - I was never able to get that car - it was the first one chosen by the driver pool drivers. I was amazed at the power seat adjustment and they were extraordinary comfortable to sit in for hours waiting for a pickup. What a car. I drove 540s, 530s, a 3 series manual and a Z3 through Schenley Park and the 750iL may have been my favorite, just a smidge more than the 740iL, because v12 of course.

cdowd HalfDork
3/1/17 7:52 a.m.

When you get to the air bag light. I have the Peak code reader/reset tool for BMW. I am in Grand Blanc not too far from you.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid UltimaDork
3/1/17 8:25 a.m.

I hate you sooooo much right now.

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
3/1/17 8:41 a.m.

In reply to Kendall_Jones:

No VANOS on this car but I bought the timing tool kit because I imagine I'm going to go through a bunch of these cars in the next couple years. I think there's enough space in the nose of the 7 to avoid removing the radiator.

STM317 Dork
3/1/17 11:05 a.m.

Is the rocker under the driver's door a bit rusty or is it something with the pics?

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
3/1/17 1:04 p.m.

In reply to STM317:

That is a loose bit of trim on bottom edge of door, plus a thin layer of country road filth.

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
3/6/17 2:14 p.m.

Valuable lesson in progress: don't close the hood all the way on a used BMW before cleaning and lubing the latches. Now I have to remove the grilles without breaking them so I can jimmy-berkeley the passenger side latch into submission.

On a happier note, most of the parts for the timing job are here and the rest are due to arrive by Wednesday. I will be ripping into this job after work on Friday.

TED_fiestaHP Reader
3/6/17 2:19 p.m.

I often see some of these on E-bay, far cheaper than they should be, but wonder how hard it would be to fix what would be wrong with a cheap one. BMW typically not that easy to fix and somehow a 740 might not be the simplest of them. I will be watching with interest to see how you progress with this. When these were new they were amazing cars. Fast and comfortable.

fidelity101 SuperDork
3/6/17 3:47 p.m.
STM317 wrote: Is the rocker under the driver's door a bit rusty or is it something with the pics?

Its Michigan, you are lucky to have that little rust.

Also, when is the LS swap? (when you keep it)

Mad_Ratel Dork
3/6/17 4:45 p.m.

Part of the problem is there is next to no demand for these cars. The 5 series tends to be worth a few grand more than them.

One near me has been for sale since october of last year. 740il, great condition, receipts for 3k in engine work last year. he wants 4k for it and cannot get rid of it. EDIT Oh E36 M3 he dropped the price nearly 1200 bucks since the last time I looked. https://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/5991410465.html

Just emailed the wife about it. lol.

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
3/8/17 8:33 p.m.

In reply to Mad_Ratel:

You are right about the demand, which is a drag because they do what they do quite well.

Yesterday, YouTube taught me that the right way to remove the grilles is to wrap a block of wood in a towel, hold it against the slats, and whack it with a deadblow. Holy crap, it worked, didn't break a single tab! After that, though, I made very little progress toward getting the passenger hood latch to release. I bent a hook out of a TIG rod and used it to pull the pass side latch cable but it just wouldn't release. A coworker offered to hold the cable for me, then gave it a good tug and ripped the lever right out of the latch. Grrrrrr.

Today at lunchtime I went to Horrible Fright to get a jobber drill bit and they had a 12" extension for hex drive fastener shooters. And just a few feet away, they had metal-drilling bits with the same size hex bases. So for under $15 I got a way better tool solution than what I went in for. I ground the end of my 12" drift into a point, centerpunched the exposed ends of the pins that hold the latch assembly together, and used my new HF extendo-drill to remove the ends of the pins. I popped the cover off the latch with a long flat blade screwdriver, popped a spring out of the latch, and raised the hood.

While the car was locked.

Which set off the alarm.

And caused me to run back to my desk and grab the keys that I should've had in my pocket.

At the end of the day, it was a small victory, but that's still a victory. This weekend I will do the timing job, then start DD'ing this monster to see what I'm working with.

My next posts will have pix, I promise!

Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
3/8/17 8:42 p.m.

Can't wait to see how you progress...

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
3/11/17 12:29 a.m.

Tonight I started cleaning up the engine compartment in preparation for ripping into the timing chain and guide replacement. I pulled out the existing tensioner and it felt just like the new one, so my theory that it was just losing its pump has been disproved. Next step is to pull the lower oil pan and look for chunks of chain guide.

So yeah, tomorrow I finish cleanup and get to work replacing chains, guides, and tensioner. I'm looking forward to getting it done and driving this beast!

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
3/13/17 12:12 p.m.

Turning my attention to the bottom end, I was happy to see a sludge-free crankcase, but look at the chunks of guide material in the oil pump pickup. I used a thin hooked pick to get the debris out of there.

Oil leaks at the valve covers and upper timing covers made for a filthy mess of an engine. I hate filthy engines at least as much as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman hates an unlocked foot locker, so I spent a lot of time cleaning as I disassembled.

I try to stay organized as I work. I know it's not the fastest way to get the job done, but I know where my 10 mm socket is! The jack handle cheater extension on the breaker bar was necessary to remove the balancer bolt. Torque spec is 300 ft-lb!

After rotating crank to #1 TDC, a pin is inserted through the bellhousing and into the flywheel, and these blocks are inserted over the cams, to hold the rotating parts in their proper orientation for the rest of the job. Except these made-in-China POS blocks did not fit the exhaust cams as received. I lost about 4 hours filing the slots to make them fit, then going to the ER to have metal filings removed from my left eye. Yes, I was wearing safety glasses.

Removal of the lower timing cover revealed the source of the guide material chunks: there is no material left on the upper guide!

Imagine the noises that made while running. Now imagine it being worse than that. Yep, that's what it sounded like. I forgot to shoot a "before" vid, but you can take my word for it.

And finally, after about 80 disposable latex gloves, I have reached the stage where "installation is the reverse of removal."

I'm out of the garage for a few days, but I should be able to button it up on Friday after work.

petegossett UltimaDork
3/13/17 3:00 p.m.


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