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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Used BMW's quality or just snob appeal
Date: Sat, 09 Jul 94 05:44:16 GMT

Miller_A.Chemcardio@MSMAIL.BMS.COM (Miller A) writes:

>Have been considering buying a used BMW instead of a new Ford as my next
>car. Models I've considered are the 5 or 7 series preferably a V-8 (540 or
>740) but not the V-12.  I've driven my 88 V-8 T'bird for 125K miles now and
>it's getting a bit "tired".  My question is a basic one.  Is the quality of
>a BMW really superior to a domestic car.  I don't mean is it cutting edge
>technology or does it have snob appeal.  Should I expect it to last longer?
> Is the engine made better, is the sheet metal thicker, are systems
>engineered not to fail as quickly, etc etc.  I expect repair to be a bit
>steeper, but if I bought one with 60K mi on it should I expect it to last
>longer than a typical new Ford?

A lot depends on what you want.  Do you want to impress small minded people
who are impressable by what they thought you spent?  Get the bimmer.
Do you want a moderately fast, good handling, moderately comfortable car
and are prepared to pay the maintenance freight?  Get a bimmer.  
Want a comfortable, if ordinary car, that is fairly reliable and doesn't
cost an arm and a leg to fix?  Get the ford.

The germans seem to be a society of extremes and their cars reflect
that.  Either extremely good or extremely bad.  There are elements of
both in the bimmer.  Take my 635CSI for example.  The engine is a work
of art - bullet- proof.  So is the rest of the drive train.  But the
suspension looks almost toy-like.  Don't kiss any curbs or you'll be
buying expensive pieces.  The electrics are only a little better than
Lucas.  So far I've replaced both electric window motors twice, the
sunroof motor once, the antenna motor once, the fan motor once, the
radio and a couple of dash switches.  The reason these motors have had
to be replaced (actually, repaired, since I can't afford the price of
new parts) is that there is absolutely NO waterproofing.  Yet the paint
and trim looks showroom new after over 10 years.  Extremes.  The heat
and A/C suck.  Yet the throttle has a square root cam on it that gives
it an extremely linear and smooth response.

You're entering a whole new relm of pricing on spare parts and service.
Try $250 for a master cylinder, $300 for a window motor, $2000 for 
a new EFI computer (analog).  And unlike american and oriental cars,
you can't waltz down to your friendly local auto parts place and
buy parts, other than perhaps brake pads (needed every 20k miles or so).
You can buy from BMW or (if you're lucky) a foreign botique or perhaps
mail order.  And if you don't do your own maintenance, be prepared 
for another sticker shock on labor.  While the typical independent
regular garage charges about $25/hr, the typical BMW/benz shop charges
around $40.  


Subject: Re: Will BMW Dealers Negotiate Pricing?  How Much??
Date: 12 Aug 1997 14:53:18 GMT

In <>, writes:

>I am not affiliated with a dealer, I AM THE DEALER.

*A* dealer.  There are a variety of BMW dealers around the NY area.
Lindners, AMOL.  Be careful.  You are starting to sound like Alexander

>> And while BMW certainly makes a quality product, they aren't
>Yes, they are.

Then how come they cooked up that sidestand on my buddies R100RS
that has the built-in stress concentration that causes the crack that
causes the bike to fall over.  That was a bone-head design, sorry.

And how come the 70's era R bikes all came from the factory with
the ring end-gaps set up *beyond* the wear limit, causing the
"feature" whereby you could fog your yard for mosquitos for
free every time you used the sidestand?

Point being, every manufacturer examines the products that
they sell - and tries to find the weak spots, and upgrades
accordingly.  Looking at the progression from /2s into the
oil-head boxers, one sees the thought processes of BMW
engineers laid out plainly.  Some of the ideas are good, and
improve the art, but some are mis-steps.  No manufacturer
or engineer is bold enough to tell the buyer that the bike
is indeed perfect.

The nice thing about bmw is that what they make, they
do an honest job of.  Lots of folks tend to "fudge" a bit
on specs, but bmw tends (or tended to be) quite
conservative in their engineering - leading to long-life,
robust machinery.  But if one is unwilling to admit mistakes,
then the chance for improvement is lost.  How many
"fixes" or "upgrades" were around for those Getrag
gearboxes, that are so klunky that nearby pedestrians
tend to startle evertime I shift the bike?  The new K1200 has
a gearbox "with Japanese smoothness" is the way it was
reported.  BMW for years set the standard for audibility
in transmissions, with otherwise bullet-proof reliability.

Some stuff they keep, some they get rid of.  Some they
even bring back.  Does a Telelever bike ride similarly to
an Earle's fork machine?


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Bruiser's Broken Brakes
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2008 00:14:22 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Sat, 16 Feb 2008 03:22:08 GMT, "Allan F Damp" <> wrote:

>I don't know why all disk brake systems don't have the feature that my 1990
>Renault had. Embedded in the pad, about 1/8 inch into the friction material
>from the backplate, was a wire. It was hooked into an indicator light on the
>dashboard which had 12 volts on it. When the pad material got down to 1/8
>inch thick, the wire would contact the disk, make a ground circuit and turn
>the light on.
>For the first few miles, the light would be intermittent, but as the pad
>wore more and more, the light came on solid. Time to change the pads,

My european spec 1980 BMW 635CSi had the same system, except that in the Bosch
system, wear let the disc cut the circuit between two embedded wires.  Royal pain in
the ass.  That "fine driving machine's" electrics were so bad that the light seemed
to be on all the time.  Always a corroded connector at the strut.  I eventually
pulled the fuse on the damned thing.  If Lucas was the Prince of Darkness then Bosch
was his brother!

The purely mechanical squealer system used by the rest of the world is much more
reliable and gives one just as much warning - if one is listening, that is.  In this
instance, I suspect that it could have been howling like a banshee and wouldn't have
been noticed.


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