1988 Bmw 7 Series Problems

05-17-2004, 10:19 AM
Let me know if anyone is having these problems or have already had them with their cars.

05-17-2004, 10:20 AM
I bought a 1988 735i bmw from a private owner.

05-17-2004, 10:22 AM
I haven't had any major problems with my bmw except for a new heater core. However, I am having problems with the electrical system in the dash board.

05-18-2004, 05:48 AM
Overall these are super cars, but the electronics on these cars are complex and to compound the problem there are numerous cold solder joints. Exactly what problem are you having with the dashboard?

06-08-2004, 02:13 AM
if anyone can help. I am having problems with my dashboard as well. None of the interior lights come on. At night I can't even tell how fast i'm going. please help if you can. thanks.

06-10-2004, 12:42 PM
really need to know EXACTLY whats not working to help. As 'libertylover' stated, this are complex and i need exact failure info to help AT ALL !

06-11-2004, 03:57 AM
the problems are as follows: 1)the passenger seat is stuck all the way to the front, and won't move back. is there a manual way to do this. i have checked all fuses (including #43) 2)all doors open with key, except driver. when i turn key it clicks back to lock, so i have to turn the key again. i have to open the back door and reach in to open the driver's door. ?????? 3)there is a sound like, can u believe it!, a propeler. can't find where it's coming from. have u had such a sound before? any help will really be apreciated. thanks in advance

06-11-2004, 09:14 AM
i'm assuming the entire seat is full forwrd, not the seat back. there is NO manual method of moving it. if you here nothing when you push the switch, the 'seat switch block' is the likely cause, as you've made a good start checking ALL the fuses and most pass. seats don't have the memory function and 'everything' seems to work ruling out the ZKE and Relay modules. the switch is relatively easy to replace. your L/F door lock problem, since the system does respond, sounds like the actuator as opposed to a lock cyl./switching problem. even with the door panel off this is a mmore difficult repair as it involves removing the door latch to replace the actuator which 'snaps' onto it. That 'propeller' sound is intreging ! more info please. when do you here it, what's going on in the car, does it change pitch, etc...please be as exact as you can............jb.

06-11-2004, 05:05 PM
well, the sound is (like i said before) like a propeller, or sometimes like a grinding noise. everything else is fine in the car, except that sometimes the car feels like it moves slower than it should. i know that one of the dust boots in the back right tire is torn, so i don't know if its that. please help.

06-11-2004, 06:15 PM
ok, that's a start, now, standing still? while driving? engine idling, @2,500 rpm? only around turns? only accellerating? get where I'm going here ? a little more info, please.

06-11-2004, 07:24 PM
now i understand. well, at idle there is no noise, other than the sweet sound of the engine. Even at 2,500 rpm the sound is the same sweet sound as before. that heartbreaking sound is only heard at acceleration and during normal driving around town. now on the freeway is a whole other story. the sound grows louder that i have to slow down so the sound can become lower. on turns it sounds like a metal sound rubbing on metal and gives you the feeling that something might come off. i have checked under the car, and everything is where it's sopposed to be and i can't find anything that is loose. i have heard that changing the oil in the ind. differential would take care of the problem, but i am not really sure. please help with anything that u can. thank you very much in advance.

06-12-2004, 10:57 AM
alrighty now, here we go. some possibilities; #1, no oil replacement or 'magic juice' in a can will help you now. i'll assume your brake pads are in good condition but check them if you haven't. the differential could be the source but it's usually the pinion bearings that fail in these and turning wouldn't effect the noise, failing spider gears would as during turning is when they do their work but they'd be quite going straight, the same is true for failing L/S diff. clutches. extended driving with an 'empty' diff could have cause a total diff. failure but this is unlikely....it sounds like your suffering from a bad wheel bearing and these can be hard to pinpoint while driving without experience as the noise can 'travel' through the chassis, but you might try it. under the best conditions, the bad bearing will be noisest under highest load...[ most noise on long hard left turns = bad right side bearing, etc..] from there you should be able to isolate the corner [R/F, R/R] with the problem and note that a bad bearing won't always have excessive play when check off the ground.....hope this helps & sorry for the length.............jb.

07-18-2004, 09:40 AM
Dear Sir,

I hope you would be able to help me.

I have a 88/89 BMW 735i, Chassis No.:02763772. What started happening is that whenever the vehicle is switched on and started the ding-dong starts going.
The following are then also dead on the dasboard: the petrol guage, the temp guage, the LED display where all the errors are displayed. The ref counter are however working. When I press the brake peddal the ding-dong would sometime quite down and it would seem that the LED display get brighter but it is still not displaying anything.

Sometimes when I ref the engine up to over 4000rpm the LED display and the other guages would start working.

Could you please tell me what is wrong to allow me to have this problem fixed.

This is my second 735i and it is a lovely vehicle but I don't want to spend thousands of rands running from one place to another while everybody tries to fix the problem.

Thanks in advance for your help

Johan de Klerk

07-18-2004, 10:33 AM
I believe your describing a fairly common E32 Instrument Cluster failure. Except for the coding plug, the components are quite expensive and without actual 'hands-on' troubleshooting difficult to pin-point.
I recomend you find a Complete Used Instr. Cluster
if possible.....You'll need to match the Production Date of your vehicle as closely as possible with the donor unit as there were a number of changes. This
is all the info I have availible to me at home but it should get you on track to fixxing your problem....jb

07-18-2004, 11:13 AM
Hi JB,

I have altreeady tried locating one but without much luck.

I have now seen from some other post that it could be a coding plug problem or capacitor problem.

I am first going to try cleaning the code plug and then replacing the capacitors and see if that fixes the problem.

Thanks for the reply.

Johan de Klerk

07-18-2004, 10:01 PM
This is a quick, easy and cheap fix. It is the capacitors that have gone bad. Replace the 3 220uf/16v caps with new 220uf/25v and it will be just fine. It's a good idea to replace the 3 Instrument cluster bulbs while your in there.
Here is a link to the procedure: http://bmwe32.student.utwente.nl/johan/dash_caps/dash_caps.html
Hope this helps, Good Luck!

07-18-2004, 11:39 PM
If you have an airbag it can be tricky. Here's a site of a guy I know. He has detailed instructions with pictures. http://www.bimmernut.com/~billr/images/airBagAndBulbs_files/airBagAndBulbs.html

07-18-2004, 11:40 PM

hope this helps

07-19-2004, 12:39 AM
Thank for the advice and the link.

I have contacted a buddy of mine that is a electronic fundy and he will be in tomorrow to replace the caps for me.

Thanks again for the reply.

Johan de Klerk

07-21-2004, 11:02 AM
Hi Guys,

Thank you very much for your help and suggestion.

It worked 100%.

My dash is back to normal and you guys saved me a ton of money.

These forums and websites is a life and money saver.


Johan de Klerk

07-26-2004, 10:44 AM
I just got my 1988 735i from my brother, (who, quite frankly, tore it up). I have never had a BMW before, so may be asking many seemingly-stupid questions, so please bear with me.

I tried using the cruise control for the first time yesterday, and set it at 80 mph. Well, even though I was on a level road, (not going uphill) it kept surging every three seconds or so. It was so disconcerting, I turned the dang thing off. Is this normal, or is it just my cruise control?

07-27-2004, 01:45 AM
no, not normal. Mine surges every once and a while, only uphill, but it's rare. Don't know a fix yet but there are lots of smart guys here to help.

07-27-2004, 04:31 PM
On my cars it surges becasue of the gravity trying to push the car back down the hill and the motors compinsating for that. I always feel surges even when Im on a flat road. It does that becasue you told it to maintain one speed and every surge brings it back up to that desired speed. I dont know how rough your surges are but if you just feel the car move a little bit thats normal. If it jerks your head backwards then thats not.

06-18-2007, 11:22 AM
hi i know this is a little while back but i had the same noise in my beamer (the propellor) noise and its the heating unit (just below the radio) theres a little plastic wheel that spins around inside "i dunno why lol" but it catches on the cables for te radio etc and makes a horrid noise... all you have to do is move the wires and prblem sorted hpefully :)

09-11-2008, 02:30 PM
Let me know if anyone is having these problems or have already had them with their cars. I have a 735I . When I charge the battery the tail lights and the radio come on . The battery goes flat . Any suggestions?:runaround:

06-29-2009, 12:12 AM
What style are the stock rims for the 1988 735iL?
I just bought one that came with aftermarket rims with chipped chrome and I want to restore it to its classic beauty

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