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Unread 06-18-2015, 08:01 PM
Fair!'s Avatar
Fair! Fair! is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Re: Vorshlag E38 740iL - Amy's G-ride

Project Update for June 18, 2015: Wow, its been a long time since I updated this build thread! But luckily we haven't ignored the car, and while Amy has been daily driving it we have also worked on restoring the 740iL for the past year and a half, with lots of little updates along the way. We just finished the last item on my list - replaced the missing rear center interior headrest - and its about as perfect as a 15 year old car can be.

Let's back up and catch everyone up on the last 18 months of ownership and updates....

So back before the car rolled 100K miles (see above), in April 2014, the engine started to idle rough, it threw a Check Engine Light (CEL), and it seemed like it had a vacuum leak. A big one. The guys here took a look and traced it to something near the throttle body...

The air inlet tubing and throttle body parts were removed and a cracked gasket was found. It was obvious that this was the issue, since the gasket was messed up. All of those gaskets were replaced, the CEL was cleared, and the problem was fixed.

Car has run great ever since, but there were a few issues in the interior that cropped up. Two of my employees drove this car up from Dallas to Las Vegas for SEMA 2014 and they ran it with the windows down in the higher elevations. Well the glue that BMW uses to attach the interior fabric to the A- and B-pillars isn't that great and after 15 years and this trip of 2,400 miles going back and forth to Vegas, the interior glue started to let go in a few spots.

So I went searching for a "good deal" on the correct color A- and B-pillar covers. I bought some "clean" used B-pillars on eBay, they arrived, looked like crap, and went right into the trash. Then I finally had our guys order NEW ones from BMW, which arrived and looked perfect, for a few hundred bucks. So in January of 2015 I had Olof pull the A- and B-pillar interior coverings and replace them with the new bits. Wow, what a difference - the interior was now perfect, at least from the B-pillars forward...

Next up was the giant ugliness that was the back seat. It was the worst part of this car when we bought it, and I never took a picture of the back seat before because it looked turrible. See, the car dealer we bought this car from said they inspected the car at auction and it was perfect, they bid on it, then when they picked it up noticed a bunch of damage in the back seat.

Sometime during the inspection period some clown trashed the back seat - broke the center arm rest, stole the center headrest (first aid kit), and ripped the leather in the back seat bottom. We almost didn't buy the car because of this, but I knew we could repair or replace all of this. You can see some of the rips in the left rear seat upright above.

So my eBay skillz once again were put to the test. First I focused on the center arm rest, which was mangled, didn't flip down, the frame was bent, and when we tried to "unbend it" to get it to rotate down we noted that it missing the inner lid. It was a mess but I found a good one for $50 on eBay.

We drove it like this for a few weeks but the missing rear center head rest was still bugging me, as was the torn right rear seat. So I looked again and found a perfect black leather rear seat, the whole sha-bang-a-bang. Sweet! This was about $275 shipped, which seemed like a deal (BMW doesn't sell this stuff anymore).

Well it shows up and the center headrest is missing. Crap! But I had Olof swap it in anyway, and even though it came with a new center armrest + frame, the previous one I bought was perfect and the new one with the back seat assembly had a blemish, so the first replacement stayed. Now it looked a lot better, the arm rest was functional and complete, but there was still a big "hole" where the center head rest would go. Try as I might I could not find one for sale... #SearchFail

Finally I found a good set of OEM trunk tools from one seller and a replacement 740 jack from another, which wrapped up the trunk bits that were missing in this car when we bought it. Maybe I was being a bit too picky, but I wanted to restore this car the way it was delivered, wherever I could. I also bought replacement "rear seat foot rests", which are velcro'd to the rear floor carpet. I felt so smart - until they arrived, and were GRAY.

Amy would complain that the headlights didn't work well, so I had her bring it in in early June of this year. Sure enough one of our techs noticed that the headlight leveling sensor was broken. There is an "endlink" (above right) that was just gone and the plastic lever arm this actuates on the sensor was busted off. So off to BMW to get the right parts, about $80 or so, and that was an easy fix. Don't know when this broke - it might have been missing the whole time we've had it. Night driving is a lot easier now! While Olof was fixing this he noted a bad 3rd brake light and a tail light out, easily fixed.

It was also in because the front tires were worn - and when we drove it the front felt like it had a shimmy. Up it went on the lift and Olof did our "pre-track inspection", where we wiggle all of the suspension joints and look for loose or missing bolts on the suspension. The RF tie rod ball joint was shot so those were replaced, aligned, and new matching Z-rated tires went on the front. Now the suspension was perfect.

Last but not least, I finally figured out how to search for the center head rest for the E38... its called a "first aid kit" and has a hidden compartment that latches at the back. So when I found a few on eBay I bid on a black one and got it for $70 shipped - score! That completed the interior to perfection. I also bought a new cover for the OBD-II port in the center stack, which I will put in tomorrow ($6 shipped).

Now Its For Sale?!

So we've done a lot of little restoration bits in the past 18 months. But Amy likes to change things up, and now wants a small 3-series BMW again (she had daily driver an E36 then an E46 right before this 740iL). This 7 series is big, and it seats 5 adults very very comfortably. But all she and I do is work 7 days a week, and never have time to enjoy this car with friends... so yea, its for sale. Brad shot a few pics of the car last week, shown below.

If you are interested, email us at or call us at the shop at 972-422-7170. I'll post up when it sells - it just went on Craigslist in Dallas today. - Note: This CraigsList ad gets taken down by trolls every few days. We will update this thread when the car sells to say "SOLD". If you don't see the ad at the link above just call 972-422-7170 for more info. Ask for Terry.


Last edited by Fair!; 06-29-2015 at 02:51 PM.