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  1. #1
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    Yes | No

    Pre-purchase inspection on 99 740i M-Sport

    Hey guys--

    About to purchase a 99 740i M-Sport off ebay, had it inspected by the local dealership and they found the following:

    Gauge Cluster Missing Pixels (I knew this, its not bad)
    Intake gaskets leaking, recommend instake reseal.
    Valve cover gaskets leaking
    Upper timing case cover gaskets leaking
    Both drive belts worn.
    Power Steering hoses leaking.
    Radiator leaking.
    Front lower control arm bushings worn.
    Front steering center link bushings worn.
    Right rear window regulator making noise.
    Wipers Due
    Alignment out of BMW spec.

    Purchase price was to be $8500. Mileage is 76k.

    Your thoughts? The car is in great shape cosmetically, exterior and interior. Very pretty. Black with tan interior, no nav, dsp audio, M-sport package.


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    Price might be a little high

    For that kind of money, I would expect one year newer, nav, and maybe fewer known issues.

    The cluster pixels will cost you $200 - $300 to fix with BMW's goodwill warranty.

    Intake gaskets will be $500 (total guess)

    Valve cover gaskets will be another $500.

    If the upper timing cover gasket is leaking, that will be another $600 - $800, if memory serves me correctly.

    Depending on how many of the PS hoses are leaking, that will run $300 - $600.

    The radiator will be another $300.

    The thrust arm bushings will be around $400. Center link is probably about the same.

    Rear window regulator is probably $600 (another guess; it is only $250 if you DIY).

    The alignment will be $180, but I would do that anyway.

    All told, I would not want to spend another $2,000 - $3,000 on a car that appears to be on the high end of its price.
    2000 E38 750iL Highline Edition with 18" Style 118 Wheels and Runflats
    MKIV and 16:9 Navigation, TV, and Backup Camera
    New Gen Radio, Sirius, Aux Input for my iPod, Bluetooth, and E39 M5 Tire Pressure Monitor System

  3. #3
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    Re: Pre-purchase inspection on 99 740i M-Sport

    You should add up all those repairs and scare yourself right out of that purchase, IMHO.

  4. #4
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    Re: Pre-purchase inspection on 99 740i M-Sport

    Hmm--

    I spoke to the shop that did the inspection. Basically they said that all the wear issues were minor, but present. No huge leaks.

    I'm unconcerned about the instrument panel pixels and the window regulator. I'm not expecting a 10 year old car to be brand new. Alignment I'll have done immediately as well. And the steering bushings can probably wait too.

    I'm a former DIY wrench on a '74 2002 w/ a S14 engine from a 89 E30 M3. So I can turn a wrench myself if I need to. Its been awhile, and I have children now. So I just don't really want to do it anymore than I have to at this point.

    It seems like the intake gasket seems like the most urgent issue here.

    I just read up on replacement procedure, and it looks very doable, if an involved job. What I don't completely is how urgent it is: I can deal with a little oil seepage from the valve covers, but unmetered air getting into the intake is another issue entirely.

    Would I be able to tell on a test drive if the intake problems were urgent? Or is this something that has more subtle symptoms until it gets catastrophic?

  5. #5
    BigBimmer
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    Yes | No

    If you can DIY, then this is a whole new story...

    I still think that the price could be a touch on the high side, given the known issues. Plus, it lacks many of the cool gizmo features. However, if you can do a bit of the work on your own, then the repairs are pretty inexpensive.

    Missing Pixels - no biggie, it is common to the cars.

    Intake gaskets leaking - these will produce engine misfires and a check engine light, if they are really leaking.

    Valve cover gaskets leaking - this will eventually leak into the spark plug wells and cause engine misfires. The repair is easy and cheap.

    Upper timing case cover gaskets leaking - this is a lot of work. However, if it is really leaking, you probably ought to fix it.

    Both drive belts worn - not totally unusual. I would replace this proactively anyway. It is a moderate project. You might as well replace the water pump and thermostate proactively, while you have it off.

    Power Steering hoses leaking - These you will need to fix. The parts are expensive, so DIY will not save you much. Figure $300.

    Radiator leaking - The seller says he replaced the radiator, so this is odd. Maybe it is the expansion tank that is leaking. Expansion tank is easy to fix and only $100 in parts.

    Front lower control arm bushings worn - You will want to fix these. This causes a shimmy at 45 MPH to 55 MPH that takes away from the car's excellence. DIY will be $300.

    Front steering center link bushings worn - To me, if suspension needs fixing, I would fix it.

    Right rear window regulator making noise - this is common to the cars and easy to do yourself. I have done four of them in two different E38s. The parts are $250 each window.

  6. #6
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    Re: If you can DIY, then this is a whole new story...

    Thanks for the thoughtful response.

    I'm having a hard time letting this one go, its low miles but it seems like a lot of work to be done on the car based on this inspection. And yet the seller (of course) insists that the car runs fine.

    I think I'll probably end up passing and look for another one. I want a short wheelbase sport. Nav and bluetooth would be nice, but I can live without them. Anyone have pointers to someone that has one they are trying to move? Without issues?

  7. #7
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    Seller now says he will fix all issues...

    Hmmm.

    Seller now says he will fix all issues. Turns out he is a small dealer in Florida. Says his mechanic will fix all the gaskets/bushings/leaks.

    Of course, my question is will it be fixed right? Last thing I want is gasket sealant clogging up the journals in the block, etc.

    My thought is to tell him that he can go ahead and do whatever, and if he will have it reinspected afterwards then we can talk. But I'm kinda leery of this one at this point.

  8. #8
    Kung J. LEE
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    Yes | No

    Re: '99 740i M-Sport, W220

    Why not consider a Mercedes W220, S430 instead? About the same price of the E38, 740i. The main issue could be airmatic. Else it is a nice V8 to drive around.

    Simply need a facelift with head & tail lights, you can simply get from ebay.

    Regards,
    KJL

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