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      04-25-2021, 07:42 PM   #1
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Talk some sense in to me - Fun E38 discussion

It was pouring all day yesterday, so I decided to browse Autotrader. Never a good idea. I stumbled upon this 2001 BMW 740iL, in an unusual Impala Brown exterior. I've always had a thing for these, especially the LCI version. Here are some pics:





I know this thing would be an absolute money pit, but I've always had thing for the E38/E39's. They're possibly the best looking sedans ever built IMHO. I can spot some things wrong with the car from just the pictures, so I don't know if the price is right ($10.9k asking). This car has 87k miles I believe.

So the question is... would I be absolutely crazy to consider getting rid of my 99 Techno Violet M3 Coupe? Keep in mind I've also got a Z4M Roadster, an E92 M3 and a Toyota Tundra. The E36 kind of falls in the same realm as the Z4M for me, but then I suppose the E38 would fall into same realm as the Tundra.

Picture of said E36:
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      04-25-2021, 07:58 PM   #2
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About 4 years ago I went on the hunt for a clean E38. Looked at and drove a bunch, even traveled a few hours away to look at some, but they were all rougher than described and none of them were the right car for me. In the middle of it, I stumbled across an E92 335i that was too good to pass on, so I bought that, instead. Now, i do love my E92, but the want for a clean E38 has never ceased. I can't tell you what makes sense logistically, or financially, only you can decide on that. What I can tell you is figure it out and get one, they're only going to get either rougher, or more expensive. As for it being a money pit, that's likely, but also depends on the car and if you can DIY...just like any aging BMW, really.
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      04-25-2021, 08:04 PM   #3
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Tough decision. That is a beauty, even in Impala Brown which does give it a classy look, that being said, I would honestly rather try and find a nice E39 or E38 Sporty Shorty if they were to replace the E36.

In the end, its the devil you know (keep the E36) vs the devil you don't know (E38) when it comes to maintenance, history, repairs, etc.
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      04-25-2021, 08:27 PM   #4
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I personally would say run... I love the shape and the M parallel, but the V8 requires a lot of maintenance.

If you want something big and reliable look at an E60 Msport (530 would be best and bulletproof) . Sharp looking and the M parallel will fit.
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      04-26-2021, 06:30 AM   #5
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Thanks to all for the replies so far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilime75 View Post
About 4 years ago I went on the hunt for a clean E38. Looked at and drove a bunch, even traveled a few hours away to look at some, but they were all rougher than described and none of them were the right car for me. In the middle of it, I stumbled across an E92 335i that was too good to pass on, so I bought that, instead. Now, i do love my E92, but the want for a clean E38 has never ceased. I can't tell you what makes sense logistically, or financially, only you can decide on that. What I can tell you is figure it out and get one, they're only going to get either rougher, or more expensive. As for it being a money pit, that's likely, but also depends on the car and if you can DIY...just like any aging BMW, really.
I do all my own work, and if it's something more serious, my friends have car lifts. Having said that, doing the timing chain guides on this would be a decent chunk of work.

Like you, there's just something about E38's, and if I ever got one, it would be one of the few cars I leave bone stock. Maybe this is just a phase where I try one out and just check it off the list, and it wouldn't be a keeper, who knows. I grew up absolutely loving the E31's, and got to drive an "OK" condition one. While I love the way it looked, I wasn't super blown away enough to pull the trigger on one knowing how much work it would have needed.

I've usually stuck to the cheaper/smaller BMW products, so they were the least complicated. I think these 5/6/7 Series would be far more work to maintain due to their complexity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
Tough decision. That is a beauty, even in Impala Brown which does give it a classy look, that being said, I would honestly rather try and find a nice E39 or E38 Sporty Shorty if they were to replace the E36.

In the end, its the devil you know (keep the E36) vs the devil you don't know (E38) when it comes to maintenance, history, repairs, etc.
That's the biggest thing right there. The E36 is starting to need cosmetic stuff just because of age, and it also does have 142k miles. However, I have a feeling with this E38, I'd be starting from scratch. Especially if timing chain guides haven't been done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frchdragon View Post
I personally would say run... I love the shape and the M parallel, but the V8 requires a lot of maintenance.

If you want something big and reliable look at an E60 Msport (530 would be best and bulletproof) . Sharp looking and the M parallel will fit.
Yea, I'm not stranger to cars that require maintenance, but I think this one will beat all my M's. Funnily enough, I found a 2005 E60 530i Msport with a 6MT in Chicago (Autotrader again ), but didn't pull the trigger on it. While you're right about it pretty much being the last of the bulletproof 5/7ers, I just don't think it has the draw for me like the e38/9s.
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      04-26-2021, 09:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W/// View Post
Thanks to all for the replies so far!

Especially if timing chain guides haven't been done..
Yeah... what about valley pan gasket and oil separator?
Maintenance is really bit on the V8, but once everything is sorted our they run great. If you are up to the task and have the special tools to work on the timing chain, and have time, then why not, do it.
A friend of mine bought an E39 540i because he loved the power, and he didn't mind paying to get all the work done.

Car looks great, it is a big car... did you drive one yet? It is a big comfy cruiser, not a car you can throw around corners like the E36.
I loved throwing my E60 around the corners, until I drove my F30 and realized how slow my E60 was around the same corners...
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      04-26-2021, 11:07 AM   #7
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I had a silver shorty for a while. The timing chain guides finally failed so I sold it to a friend. It always needed something but it was such a good driving car. I kinda regret selling it but I just didnt have the time to mess with it then.
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      04-26-2021, 02:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frchdragon View Post
Yeah... what about valley pan gasket and oil separator?
Maintenance is really bit on the V8, but once everything is sorted our they run great. If you are up to the task and have the special tools to work on the timing chain, and have time, then why not, do it.
A friend of mine bought an E39 540i because he loved the power, and he didn't mind paying to get all the work done.

Car looks great, it is a big car... did you drive one yet? It is a big comfy cruiser, not a car you can throw around corners like the E36.
I loved throwing my E60 around the corners, until I drove my F30 and realized how slow my E60 was around the same corners...
Ah, that's a good call. Was so focused on the timing chain guides I didn't even think of those other 2. Never had a chance to drive one before, but now I'm thinking I might just love the looks more than the way it drives for the maintenance to be worth it.

P.S. Saw pics of your 6er in another thread, that thing is gorgeous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MPOWER5266 View Post
I had a silver shorty for a while. The timing chain guides finally failed so I sold it to a friend. It always needed something but it was such a good driving car. I kinda regret selling it but I just didnt have the time to mess with it then.
Yea, I can make time for our M cars, but I wonder how much patience I'll have for something like the E38, which will nickel and dime you at a much faster pace than our E36's.
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      04-26-2021, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W/// View Post
there's just something about E38's, and if I ever got one, it would be one of the few cars I leave bone stock.
This is a bit pricier than the one you're looking at, but...

- E38
- SWB
- Extremely rare
- LCI updates
- Alpina V12
- Turns 25 in a few weeks
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      04-26-2021, 08:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W/// View Post
It was pouring all day yesterday, so I decided to browse Autotrader. Never a good idea. I stumbled upon this 2001 BMW 740iL, in an unusual Impala Brown exterior. I've always had a thing for these, especially the LCI version. Here are some pics:





I know this thing would be an absolute money pit, but I've always had thing for the E38/E39's. They're possibly the best looking sedans ever built IMHO. I can spot some things wrong with the car from just the pictures, so I don't know if the price is right ($10.9k asking). This car has 87k miles I believe.

So the question is... would I be absolutely crazy to consider getting rid of my 99 Techno Violet M3 Coupe? Keep in mind I've also got a Z4M Roadster, an E92 M3 and a Toyota Tundra. The E36 kind of falls in the same realm as the Z4M for me, but then I suppose the E38 would fall into same realm as the Tundra.

Picture of said E36:

Is this a dealer? If so, offer your e36 M3 for the e38 PLUS $7k on their end. E36 Mís are gaining traction and that color is to die for. Let the negotiations begin.
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      04-26-2021, 10:01 PM   #11
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I love the E38 that's why I own 3... Ready to buy another one!
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      04-27-2021, 12:55 AM   #12
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I think the e38 is a much prettier car than the e36. With the way E36 m3 prices are going you'll probably make it out ahead.
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      04-27-2021, 07:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOW4LYF View Post


I love the E38 that's why I own 3... Ready to buy another one!
That's impressive, you must have the patience of a saint haha
What's your ownership experience been like with them?

And yes, dealership in PA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vivek. View Post
I think the e38 is a much prettier car than the e36. With the way E36 m3 prices are going you'll probably make it out ahead.
I agree with the looks, just not sure it's worth the headache over an E36 haha. But I definitely think the M3 is worth more than that E38, considering there's a few things I can spot cosmetically that'll need doing.
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      04-28-2021, 05:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOW4LYF View Post


I love the E38 that's why I own 3... Ready to buy another one!
Amazing! Which ones do you have? all same engine?
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      04-29-2021, 05:25 AM   #15
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Personally I think that colour is terrible. E38s looked best in silver, black, and navy.
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      04-29-2021, 04:43 PM   #16
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Amazing! Which ones do you have? all same engine?
Yes, all V8

740i Sport
740il Sport
740il Sport DINAN Stage 3

All 2001, all silver... Same as my 2001 E46

Maintenance isn't that bad but I do not drive them very often. Timing Chain Guides are known issue but mine sound pretty healthy.

You can't get more car for your money, E38 are still super cheap!
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      04-29-2021, 05:38 PM   #17
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I also prefer the sporty shorty. Mine was a great car which never had high maintenance. Longest drive was 20 hours straight (only stopping for gas/food/pee) in winter. Loved that car.

They are long in the tooth now, even with low mileage a lot of the user tech is dated. But who cares, they are great.

I also had a couple of V8 X5s (4.8is and 5.0) and never had engine problems with them either. I do prefer preventative maintenance.
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      04-29-2021, 06:44 PM   #18
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Easy, just keep the current car and buy the other as well.

P.s. this is from a guy who gets heart palpitations from having 10 cars to maintain.
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      04-29-2021, 06:56 PM   #19
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I love E38s as well, but getting rid of my Estoril E36 M3/4/5. I would give anything to have that car back now.
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      04-29-2021, 08:15 PM   #20
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E38 and e39 are everything first bmw in my family was an e38 which made me get an e39 540i ever since the e39 I have been chasing the high but somehow i cant replicate the emotions and feel i got from the e38 and e39...
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      04-29-2021, 11:15 PM   #21
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That techno violet is such a sweet spec though....
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