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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, all.

I'm in the market for a new (well, used) car and am thinking of buying an F02 (LWB) 3 litre diesel. It was a toss up between the BMW and a Mercedes S class 3 litre diesel, but a local BMW specialist told me the S class's 'aromatic' suspension is problematic and cost a fortune to repair when it goes wrong, which apparently they do, a lot. In all honesty, I was only considering the Merc because of the badge and pedigree. If I'm honest, for me at least, the BMW F01/02 has a nicer/sportier shape and a better driving position/cabin etc. I even prefer the way the bonnet looks when you're driving it, in that you can see it, nice and long, and the drive is practically the same as the Merc from what I could tell test driving three year old versions of each make.

Jaguar XJ was in contention, until I read all the horror stories about the under-bonnet airbags deploying all the time, caused by hitting small animals in the road, pot holes and the like, and they cost £3,000 to sort when this happens, which, apparently, is more often than one would like, so the XJ is out also. Having said that, I prefer the shape of the BMW 7 F01, which doesn't have under bonnet airbags, or 'aromatic' suspension to go wrong every five minutes.

So, I'm totally into a long wheel base version of the 7 i.e. the F02 shape. I'm thinking of a budget of £15,000, which should get me a five/six year old one with 60K on the clock. I know the 3 litre diesel engines and the auto box are capable of high mileages. Local independent specialist near me has an F02 with over 300,000 miles on same engine/gearbox, he reckons they are bombproof.

Reading reviews around the internet doesn't bring up any nasties in the reliability scheme of things. Honest John's 'Good/Bad' section is especially praising of the F01's reliability with just a few BMW recalls and a couple of small things, superb compared to most other cars on that site.

So, after this much research, I'm just posting on here to get opinions of BMW F01/02 3 litre diesel owners, or people who know people who own them to find out if there are any known issue or expensive nasties that are likely to crop up. Of course, I know that BMW's (like Merc, Audi etc) cost a little more to run than a Mondeo (I've owned a few BMW's over the years, just not recently), but I don't want to have to spray a big fat money hose at it every five minutes as well if expensive things are going to keep going wrong.

So, is the F02 3 litre diesel a safe bet in terms of reliability, build quality and the like.

Finally, any buying advice/tips while I'm looking for a used one, anything to look for, any options that are a must?

Thanks all.
 

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first thing you gotta ask yourself at a basic level are you going to do enough open road mileage and actual yearly miles to justify the increased cost price and fuel (although fuel gap has narrowed) economics? and avoid issues like gumming stuff up like DPF's and EGR's etc on the engine? which can cause problems and issues and destroy or make the potential improved economics target become further and further away from you, and harder to acheive the intended economics...


if you dont fit into a certain criteria and band of intended useage with a big diesel you can potentially fall foul of it costing you more than buying summat more suitable to your needs and usage as many have discovered over the years and you end up defeating the object of it's improved MPG stats...


if economics are not in the equation and though process then ignore everything ive just said...but realistically trying to make yoiurself aware of any potential problems and how to avoid them then goes hand in hand with the economics anyway...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting. I know what you mean, certain diesel stuff is costly to sort. However, although my mileage isn't high, just your average 12,000 per year, I figured this is enough to justify the diesel. Even the smallest petrol 3 litre engine only does a combined mileage of 28, compared to 40 of the diesel, so over 12,000 miles that's a decent saving. From what I've heard, the 3 litre diesel engines are bombproof.
 

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its a well known rule of thumb with the increased purchase price of the diesel and it's increased fuel cost, on a rough average it would take you circa 18 to 24 months wth no faults and doing 20- 25k annual miles to recoup the increased purchase price and fuel ecomomics...

you doing only 12k annual that figure you would go to around 4 years with no problems before you saw any economics in your ownership because you paid more for the car and your fuel per gallon costs more to start with...

dont take my word for it use the WHICH calculator to test the mathematics...



http://www.which.co.uk/cars/driving/driver-tools/petrol-vs-diesel/petrol-and-diesel-fuel-costs/

http://www.which.co.uk/cars/driving...vs-diesel/choosing-between-petrol-and-diesel/


i own an old 330 petrol ive owned it 12 years and do mostly motorway with some urban obviously i average 32 to the gallon and have done for umpteen years, the 330d relation will do in the same arena roughly 40-45 at best to the gallon but it is worse in economics when in urban use than mine..thats only 8-13 miles per gallon at best in economics, thats a very long time or a lot of miles to recoup you increased purchase price and fuel costs..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Can I I ask, when you say 'purchase price' I'm assuming you mean that of a brand new car costing more for the diesel version over petrol. Me, I'm looking to buy a used 7 so that would not make any difference.

I know what you mean, I've been on the two or three fuel calculators and worked this out.

I worked out the following, based on my current Audi A3 1.6 petrol, and comparing it to some other cars. In the below instance, the 7 series diesel is about the same as the 6 series I've listed.

Over 12,000 miles in one year will cost:

Audi A3 1.6 petrol manual (36 MPG) - £1,867.52
Range Rover 4.4. Petrol auto (18 MPG) - £3,735.09
Range Rover 3.0 Diesel auto (25 MPG) - £2,798.79
BMW 635d Sport Diesel auto (40 MPG) - £1,749.25
BMW 630i Sport Petrol auto (29 MPG) - £2,318.30
Ford Mondeo 2.0 Diesel auto (50 MPG) - £1,399.40
Ford Mondeo 2.0 Petrol auto (36 MPG) - £1,867.52

As you can see from above, the BMW 6 series petrol and diesel are similar to the 7 series petrol/diesel 3 litre engines, so based on that, a BMW 7 series diesel would cost around £569.05 per year more on fuel (current prices applied). However, the TAX for the petrol BMW is £490, while the TAX for the diesel is £265, so adding the extra tax makes the annual difference between the diesel and petrol around £795 per year, that's £66 per month.

It's tempting as I prefer the quieter petrol engines, but, the diesels engines are supposed to be bombproof. Another negative for the petrol version is that for every 100 diesel 3 litre 7's out there, there are only about 10 petrol ones (judging by Autotrader) so I probably won't get a bargain as I'll be limited to the few petrol ones around. At time of writing, on Autotrader there are 258 3 litre diesel 7's, cheapest 2008 model (80,000 miles) at £13,850, with about 20 more between £14,000 and £15,500. However, there are only 4 petrol models, cheapest at £20,000, going up to £30,000. So, petrol has to be a none starter for me as there are just too few at too high a price. So, in this instance, I'd have to spend about £6,000 more just to get a petrol, which is working the opposite way around to how you've reckoned it.

I'm not trying to be contrarily, but I've been though all this, and, like you, I'm quite intelligent and look at both sides of the coin. I even considered the V12 petrol gusher, on the assumption that I could get one £5,000 less as nobody would want the thing, but even they are way more than the diesels.
 

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look im merely opening your eyes to the bigger picture if you went to a driving or motoring expert and said im thinking of buying a diesel but i only do 12k a year then they would look at you in absolute horror..

a diesel and a like for like alternative in petrol etc you will always pay more for the diesel in purchase price because of its perceived improved MPG but that is a sliding scale dependent on the car and it's details..


you should read that WHICH thing front to back it is a respected consumer organisation...i will prolly get jumped on for saying this but have a sift thru this forums tech pages and latest posts, it is festooned with the same diesel engine related problems, some will say there is more diesels now on the road or they do more mileage, thats why there is more diesel related problem posts, but this forum has 3 to 4 times as many petrol owning members as diesel owning members on it so i say to you figure that one out for yourself..


im not going to argue with you if you think its is more suitable to your needs to go diesel then do so...
 

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il leave you with this example my work mate who ive worked with for 30 years like you does roughly 12k a year same as me (we live in same town). his last 2 cars were diesel a VW passat TDI and then a Mondeo TDI like you he always went diesel cos he though well they are better on MPG both of these cars emptied his wallet in his ownership,the latter the Mondeo it was first the injectors and then the HPFP and then the DMF that went in the 3 years he had it, it emptied his wallet of nearly £2000 in bills for those 3 things, so we figured out that just 1 of his cars in 3 years he had spent £1700 more on 1 car in 3 years than i had spent on my engine and clutch in 12 years and 144k...


food for thought....


just choose wisely and do your homework is all i shall say to you...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I totally and utterly agree with you on every level. Trust me on this. I know you are are not arguing a point, I'm with you totally 100% on this and I'd love nothing more than a petrol. But, as my previous post there are just NONE out there, there are a hundred diesels for every 1 petrol and the very few/rare petrols ones that do come up for sale are typically £10,000 more expensive to buy, this is the main reason for my going for diesel, because at least you can buy one and have choice.
 

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it could be very good for you but equally depending on where you are going to use it and how often then it could turn into a wallet emptying black nightmare for you if you dont show it big open road love very often...


the economics of it is up to you but as mentioned those economics could go well or really bad depending on the above statement..


limited mileage and little open road and you will be narrowing those odds of a happy ownership with a big diesel motor. which by definition of the engineering and physics of diesels run at their cleanest and and optimum of minimal wear and tear and efficiency with long linear throttle periods and upper RPM..(ie: not in stop start type urban jungle use)

as mentioned my mate had 2 diesels and they both bit him on the arse and he has now got an 09 toyota avensis 1.8 petrol which is a ridiculously reliable jap jobby (all be it boring) and he has now realised that he is only doing 6-8 mile to the gallon less than his mondeo 2.0 tdi did, and his engine has far less expensive and complicated components on it that can go wrong and a simpler engine than his mondeo had...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, I'm convinced, which means I'm off to to research Merc and Jag as there are bugger all petrol 7 series for sale out there. Thanks.
 

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what about Audi?

im looking at the S5 4.2 V8 often these days, big, quick and a pretty simple and bullet proof motor...


or is the mpg and tax important to you?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
S5 not big enough for me. I test drove the A8, was ok, preferred Merc S class and 7 series. For me, Audi A8 just looks like a big boring Mondeo, or American family car. No looks whatsoever.

As for MPG, petrol is preferred, but it must do at least 27mpg, which should be possible. A 540 petrol BMW does that, a 3 litre petrol BMW even more.
 

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you could get round some of the diesel issues with too much of the town use by running redex or similar thru the tank but in honesty too much town use your almost certainly going to block a DPF on one for a given, and the heavy BHP and torque from urban use will wear stuff like guibo's and engine mounts and any drivetrain stuff out quicker on such a heavy car..just look at the heavy X5's they maul the auto transmissions and diesel engined ones all over the place, a lot of the early ones destroyed the auto transmission before they ever hit anywhere near 100k...


big open roads and motorway go diesel it's the obvious choice,urban jungle and open roads go petrol,LPG or whatever in my opinion...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Few things. On the Audi 5 I test drove, the manual is a pain, the arm rest gets in the way and makes it impossible to shift gear.

Ok, back to the Seven, I live in a small village in Cambridgeshire so 99% of my driving is B roads (60mph) and A roads (70mph) with probably town driving taking up about 30% of the driving.

Having said that, I am also considering a BMW 6 series 3 litre diesel also. Only considering the 3 litre diesel 6 as it is faster than the petrol equivalent. Your thoughts? I test drove the 6 series diesel and it was way better than the Audi 5. Also, the 6 series diesel, when you put your foot down, sounds like a serious sports car, nothing diesel about the sound at all. Would I still suffer the issues you mention about when you said, 'such a big car' as the Six is a bit smaller.
 

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hmmmm ive heard a few people say the S5 is as they put it "nice car but does not shine very much at anything but just ok and mediocre"...

trouble with B roads and A roads these days is your more than likely going top be stopping and starting a lot. combine that heavty car with your low annual mileage and that is a recipe for a blocked DPF and wear and tear...

ideally a big diesel engine in a big heavy car you wanna be slaughtering it down a motorway in top gear every day or at least most of its use, it will run clean and wont wear or gum anything as much...


as mentioned the heavy X5 (chelsea tractors) a favorite for none motorway users the diesel version it trashed the auto transmissions on them cos of the weight and stop starting and the heavy torque, and they didn't really dare mate it to a manual box in anger cos it would of eaten the DMF again cos of the above..its wot causes diesels to eat anything on drivetrain the torque it is highly destructive and it pretty explains why they are the ultimate motorway beasts cos they dont wear anything and run far cleaner cos of minimal throttling and peak torque..

itsa paradox cos it such a decent and economical and reliable beast in one arena (a motorway) people feel the need and desire to apply it where it really dosent shine half aswell too. and thats why these tech pages fill up with similar issuses everyday.like blown DMF and trnansmission problems,blocked DPF and EGR's mauled guibo's vibration dampers etc...


i dunno mate you may be ok ya may not be here it's your driving and where and how often thats gonna decide if your decision was correct i cannot answer that for you just make you aware...

basically a diesel uber economical,usually uber reliable and will do behemoth mileages without trouble if you motorway. if you dont motorway? that statement goes the other way depending on the user, the age and miles on the vehicle, and previous owners usage...
 

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Good to see somebody who's thought about this properly, I get annoyed too with the diesel=cheaper crowd.

Time was in the days of old PSA XUD engines, Isuzu engined Cavaliers, those Ford 'twin-belt' jobbies and Umwelts where you could change the oil on a diesel engine once a year, and well.... They'd rattle and bang away to themselves until they ground the valves in to the cylinder head at 400k or the rest of the car fell to bits first. Old diesels where unbelievably reliable by any standard.

Not that it's an engine that's been mentioned but I've just given back a 2.0TDi T5.1 Transporter with 120k fault free miles, reason being it was the low-power version that got the snot thrashed out of it up and down the UK motorways and did those 120k miles in 30 months. The ones in the work fleet that 'potter' have been notably more problematic. I never saw the 'regen' lamp on my Transporter as it was constantly hot.

It's slowly dawned on me (as an ex-diesel fanboy) there is a lot more to this equation!
 

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Good to see somebody who's thought about this properly, I get annoyed too with the diesel=cheaper crowd.

Time was in the days of old PSA XUD engines, Isuzu engined Cavaliers, those Ford 'twin-belt' jobbies and Umwelts where you could change the oil on a diesel engine once a year, and well.... They'd rattle and bang away to themselves until they ground the valves in to the cylinder head at 400k or the rest of the car fell to bits first. Old diesels where unbelievably reliable by any standard.

Not that it's an engine that's been mentioned but I've just given back a 2.0TDi T5.1 Transporter with 120k fault free miles, reason being it was the low-power version that got the snot thrashed out of it up and down the UK motorways and did those 120k miles in 30 months. The ones in the work fleet that 'potter' have been notably more problematic. I never saw the 'regen' lamp on my Transporter as it was constantly hot.

It's slowly dawned on me (as an ex-diesel fanboy) there is a lot more to this equation!

some will just yawp and shout and abuse others and insult each other in such threads like this, and stay in complete and total denial and not wishing anybody to be enlightened or educated at all...
 
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