Over the last 16 years, my wife and I have owned three Honda Accords. It is difficult for me to imagine a more carefree experience. None of these cars required anything more than routine service. Each car was bought used, two or three years old, and driven for about seven years. The total cost of ownership per year, less gas & oil, was about $1500.
So I got bored.
After a few weeks of painstaking research, I determined that the most aggravating, expensive and complex vehicle I could possibly obtain was the BMW 740 iL. (Actually, BMW makes a 12 cylinder 750 iL, but the only one I could afford was sold before I could contact the dealer.)
Next, I fixed the heater in my garage, bought a new engine hoist and updated my metric tools with a few BMW specials.
Finally, I ran out and bought a 1.02 owner 1995 740 iL.
So now the game is won by repairing everything wrong with the car and publishing all the gory details here. I do things like this because I like fixing things that deserve to be fixed.
Q: Are you trying to warn people away from this car?
A: Not at all. It's a marvelous car. I bought it because I experienced an epiphany on the first test drive. Like many great things, small flaws are overshadowed by beauty and performance. Small flaws can even become endearing. The gurgles, drips, chirps, and bizzare displays are like the familiar contortions of a spastic lover's face.
Q: What if you have to get dealer service? Isn't that very expensive?
A: That is a popular notion, but being afraid of really big service charges, especially from BMW dealers, is like being afraid of really big gorillas, especially when they are on fire.
Q: This car was made in 1995. It is almost ten years old. Surely it is
unreasonable to rant about defects that were documented before you
bought the car?
A: I agree. I like to rant.
Someone Stood on My Seat
Replacing the plastic trim on the 'sport' seat
Power Yuppies Demand Power Sunshades
Fixing the clack-clack-clacking power sun screen
The Case of the Forbidden Service Manuals
"You might hurt yourself, sir."
The Nikasil Engine Disaster
"It worked for years in the motorcycles!"
The Case of the Missing LCD Segments
Electronics stole my car.
NO ONE EXPECTS... The Comfy Chair!
Adjusting and restuffing the sport seat
An Embarrassment of Cup Holders
"For God's sake, put that thing away!"
Marketing Took My Place
A peevish rant on the evolution of engineering companies
The End of the Line
Why there will be no collectable cars after 1990
Only Available in German
Going to the source for clues.
There are thousands of BMW sites on the web. This collection only attempts to list the ones I found helpful for repair issues. If you want to survey the BMW web space, I suggest Ben Liaw's BIG BMW links page.
Other fan sites
Products and services
Send me a description of your problems with this car and how you repaired them. I prefer do-it-yourself adventures, but I will collect statistics for any problems you report and publish them here at a later date.