In Reply to: used 750iL posted by Lance S. on January 02, 2001 at 14:07:19:
If you are considering the E32 (1988-1994), given from informal surveys from both this board and other sources, it seems as if starting in 90 or 91 there were less gremlins (especially electrical) than in the first 2 or 3 yrs (88 - 89/90)of production. IMHO a bigger factor than model year is overall condition (mechanically) of the car. There is such a wide difference in how well maintained these cars are, I would take a well-cared-for '88 over a mediocre '91 anyday.
Keep in mind the 750 is a great car and an amazing engine, but ANY 750, no matter what year or what condition is going to be VERY expensive to
repair/maintain. If these incremental bills are "acceptable", the quality car you get for the total $ spent is very high, but realize the initial price you pay for the car is just a part of the overall ownership cost of the car.
Given all this, I have a 91 750iL, and love it, and would recommend it to others. But don't delude yourself that you can by E32 and only spend $250 a year for oil changes and tune-ups.
A year ago I bought a 91 750 w/86k on the car, so it sounds pretty similar. I paid $12k, (the dealer was asking $16k) after dickering for a pretty short time. Condition of the car was excellent, except that the rear suspension felt soft to me in driving it, so I assumed (correctly) it needed new accumulators. Interior was almost perfect, exterior excellent.
After buying the car, I took it to a BMW mechanic who is far and away the best in town (houston), although sometimes he is TOO thorough. I told him he had free reign to "fix everything that wasn't perfect".....a little scary, but I had mentally prepared my self for a $4k bill......and i figured a "perfect" 750 for $16k was a good deal. I ended up $2k over budget, but he fixed stuff that may have been excessive, but at least now I have a car that is prob within 97% of the condition it was in new.
I have now had the car for over a year (and just under 10k miles), and everything still is working perfectly, except for a sagging headliner. Just oil changes, and one minor repair of a loose tranny mount. It has been more reliable than my last car, a '98 Porsche.
Given my experience, the following are the things that I fixed, or the PO had fixed in the year prior to my purchase:
*Inspection II (major 30k increment tune-up):$1000
*replace accum & shocks: $2000
*service/repair throttle housings: $1000
*tranmission valve body (shifting not crisp enough due to torque conversion prob): not sure $, under warr, but about $600
*timing chain piston tensioner seal leak : ??$ (not sure, but big$$, under my warr)
*replace rear pivot joints (rubbing inside of tire): $300
*engine drive belts $75
*power steering system flush: $200
*4 wheel thrust alignment : $200
* New dash (cracked): $?? Prev Owner
*Fixed power headrest: $250
And before you think that the car was just ragged out, this very picky mechanic said that he viewed the car as "a very good example of a 750, especially considering the price that was paid for it"
Keep in mind that the repair costs quoted above may be up to somewhat higher than most mechanics because this guy is so anal (but GOOD). Even though I am pretty picky about the condition of my cars (given how new my previous car had been), some of the problems he found I never noticed in the month between when I bought the car and when I took it to him.
So overall, I'm not trying to scare you with high repair costs, but I wanted to give an example of potential probs, since yours sounds pretty similar to mine.
Also, try to talk to the last dealer/mechanic that serviced the car. If the car is being sold by a dealer/used car lot, ask to see service records, and figure out the name of the last owner or the shop where the car was last serviced, and call the shop/person to get their opinion of the car. If it is a private party selling, then get their service records, talk to their mechanic, and get your own pre-purch inspection. In my view, this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to do on these cars. If it has had 5 owners, and you can't figure out where or if it was serviced, or if the current owner says they don't have any repair records, you should probably avoid the car.
Regarding price, you may be able to get it for as little as $10k, but I would back into your max price my making sure that after ALL the repairs to EVERYTHING, that your purch price plus repairs does not exceed $18k. There is a very wide spread between trade in and the retail price of a good-shape E32, so much so that a used car that might sell for $15k retail
As far as life expectancy, there are many guys on this board who have 150k + (some as much as 200k)and the car is still running well. The car will continue to run WELL as long as you spend the $ to stay on top of the upkeep. But, if your budget is such that a repair bill for $2000 will force you to eat cereal for dinner for the rest of the month, the 750 (or any 7er) may not be the way to go.
I love mine, but I have also mentally prepared myself that everytime I take the car in to the shop, they may find something that will set me back $1000 to $2000. Thats just the breaks of owning a car a complicated (in both a good and bad way) as the 750.
I am considering the purchase of a 1991 750iL to replace my 1994 Lincoln MK VIII. The Lincoln has been great except for a broken valve spring (recently). The 750 has 68,000 miles, one owner, will have it inspected before purchase.
My questions are: what is a fair (base) price? What types of problems should I expect? What is the life expectancy? Quite frankly, will I be miserable paying for repairs is the real question! I had a '76 2002 years ago and it ate me up...always had a problem. Will things be different this time around. Thanks!