Available Service Manuals for the E32

Article by the backyard hack mechanic: Sean750
Document history:
# 26 Sep 2003: added a very important error in the ATSG tranmission manual with lots of thanks to Mark Standish
# 22 Jan 2002: added a new Bentley Book error with thanks to Patrick C 88 750iL, and added another from myself
# 03 Jan 2003: changed font, added a new Bentley Book error
# 22 Oct 2002: initial version

If you buy a complex aircraftcarrier like the E32, especially the 750, you can't figure out everything yourself anymore, when it comes to problems with the ignition system, fuel injection system, ABS, ASC+T, even the suspension system (like the LAD) and several other electronically related items (for the E32, that only leaves the tires, I think).

Things like changing oil, replacing brake pads, changing coolant and even the more complicated operations like swapping a tranny, engine or diff could be done without a service manual, although some technical skills (depending on the job) are in that case required or at least convenient, but you definitely will reach a certain level where you need a good source of information about your car.

Someone interpreted the exploded view to the letter....

For me, the most important reason to buy a service manual is to determine which components are where located and what are they doing. For instance, some particular day I needed to know (due to some difficulties with my airco system) where the aircopump relay was located. A 750 is covered with tons of relays and computers, scattered all over the car, under the backseat, fusebox, left and right strut tower, and a couple of hundred relays behind the dash and centerconsole, all joined together by kilometers(miles) of wiring and fuses..... thanks to my service manual, I found out that the relay was located in the left footwell behind the speaker trim panel.....I am a capable mechanic, but that wasn't the first place I would look for, without a service manual....and now, at this point, after chasing some real electronic gremlins, I wouldn't be suprised to find fuses, relays and/or a bad connections near the spare tire.

When it comes to service manuals, a few aspects are very important:

OK, you got me convinced. Which service manuals can I choose from and most of all, which is the best value for money?

Unfortunately, there aren't many options. Big automotive publishers like Chilton and Haynes offer no E32 specific servicemanuals. That leaves us to the following available possibilities:

Reparaturanleiting BMW 7er reihe M30/M35/M70 by Bucheli Verlag

(translation: Repairmanual BMW 7series with M30/M35/M70 engine)

BMW 7 series Service Manual 735i(L)/740i(L)/750iL by Bentley Publishers
BMW 7 series Factory manual 735i - 750iL by BMW AG Munich

Also known as 'The Blue Book'

ATSG BMW ZF 4 HP-22 Techtran Service Manual

Servicemanual only for the ZF 4 HP-22 automatic transmission found in many E32's.

AllData CD ROM .

Remark: this information came from them website: 'information for Honda, Acura and BMW is not available to consumers through the ALLDATA DIY by request of the each manufacturer'. So this CD is no longer supported for BMW vehicles and therefore not discussed here. Don't bother try to find an old copy, the opinions about this CD (at least for the BMW part) where not that good, according to lot of debates on the internet. It isn't simply worth the effort.

Well, that's about it. If you don't like any of the above listed, you have to find the problem yourself. Scary thought huh?

Each book is discussed and rated, so you can properly make the decision where to put your hard-earned cash in.

An overview of all tested books. At the left the Bucheli book, in the middle the Bentley Book, and at the right the factory manuals. The blue binder of the factory manual is the complete electronic wiring diagram, having more pages on his own than the complete Bentley manual. Who says size doesn't matter?


Reparaturanleitung BMW 7er Reihe M30/M35/M70 by Bucheli Verlag

Language : German

Total amount of pages : 144

ISBN : 3-7168-1752-X

Photo(image)/text proportion : (remark: drawings only... no photo's in this book)

Price(depending on supplier/country, may vary) : 22,80 Euro/US dollar

Electronic schemas : yes, but partially. Only the M70 engine EML/DME 1.2 electronics are shown. None for the 730/735.

Any recall information mentioned : no

Comments : the red label on the cover of the book says 'sold till now: 5 million copies'. Impressive, but I wouldn't bet on it that these 5 million exists out of more than 5 copies of this book.

You simply can't diagnose and analyze a very, very complex car like the E32 in just 144 pages. They tried, including a engine, manual gearbox and a final drive (differential) rebuild. Nice try though.

Also, these books don't have any photos (besides the cover photo) included. Instead, they use drawings. Some, I must admit, are very detailed and if you ask me, copied right out of the factory manual, but the most are something like this (due to copyright reasons I can't show any drawings from the book, so I made a few myself....style/interpretation is the same):


Forget about Conficius. The left image shows that you should loosen the intake manifold support brackets of the left manifold on a M70 engine, and on the right a location of the crankshaft position sensor. Looking at those pictures, I'll bet you already found that out yourself. Congrats, you are a smart man. I am a little less smarter and I don't like to read puzzles when I am figuring out where those bolts/sensors are, hanging over the left fender and looking into a fully loaded engine bay, with just barely space between all parts for a 10mm wrench.....

Furthermore, lots and lots of text. All in German language. Another drawback: the M60 (v8) engine isn't supported.

Gee man, is it really that bad? Isn't there any good stuff to find? Well, like I said, some drawings are good and very detailed. Also, a few good schematic overviews are shown. Like the schematic overview of how the coolingsystem of the M70 engine works (the Bentley manual lacks such an overview), incl. heatervalves, waterpump, thermostat and plumbing between the banks. Furthermore, an extensive table is included with all (torque) specifications and engine clearances. The electrical wiring diagrams are pretty much useless, only the EML/DME 1.2 wiring diagram for the M70 is included. No DME 1.1 diagram for the 730/735 and DME 1.7 upgrading is also missing.

Trivial errors : the specification table on page 125/129 is mentioning a Bosch LH jetronic injectionsystem for the M70 engine. Nice if you have a Volkswagen GTI, but not very informative for the bimmerhead with his Motronic controlled mighty M70.

On page 131 they are telling that the M70 is equipped with the 4HP22 transmission. Ok, it will fit and you're tranny isn't gonna last long......but if you wanna order parts, order them for a 4HP24EH.

The last pages are the electrical wiring diagrams for the left bank and right bank (DME computer1 and DME computer2). They say that. In reality, they copied 1 DME schema 2 times. How do I know? On a 750, which has 2 lambasensors, you have 1 lambda heating relay for both lambdas. Both schema's are showing a seperate heating relay. Also the color codes of the wiring of both banks are identical, according to Bucheli. That is not true.

Overall conclusion: I must admit, these servicemanuals aren't very expensive, so you can't expect everything. But this is simply not suitable for an experienced DIY'er. Only interesting for those who want to collect everything about their E32.

Rating :


BMW 7 series Service Manual 735i(L)/740i(L)/750iL by Bentley Publishers

Language : English/American

Total amount of pages : >1000

ISBN : 0-8376-0328-5

Photo(image)/text proportion :

Price(depending on supplier, may vary) : about 80 Euro/US Dollar

Electronic schemas : yes, per production year

Any recall information mentioned : yes

Comments : don't confuse this book with the car manufacturer in England, it has nothing to do with it. Among bimmerheads, they are referring to 'the bible' when they speak about this book. To be honest, the overall impression is very, very good. Lots of info, photo's and drawings (and I mean detailed drawings), good techinfo and some interesting recall information. It even tells you how to convert you LAD system (Load Adjustable Drive suspension system, which in some cases can cause some real expensive problems) to regular shocks.

Both models (short and long base), most engines (M35/M60/M70) and drivelines are supported, although no rebuild information about the automatic tranny, which btw is not uncommon. Good troubleshooting guides. No final drive rebuild guidelines.

Extensive electronical wiring diagrams, even the changes per production year. Only it takes some searching where to locate some components in the car itself..

Gee man, isn't there anything bad to tell about this manual? Yes. A lot of photos are directly copied from the 5 series manual from Bentley. The 5 and 7 are sharing a lot of components (however, mostly the appeareance) so that isn't very much of a problem. The 730i model with M30 isn't mentioned, but basically this is the same engine as the M35.

Important news for M60 (v8) owners: an additional upgrade for the bible is avaible called 'Addition to Repair Group 113 Cylinder Head Removal and Installation'. This is about the intake manifold non-return valve, removing and installing (M60 engine only).This addition can be downloaded (pdf) at http://www.bentleypublishers.com/gallery.htm?code=b794&seqnum=1

Trivial errors:

  1. on page 260-11 they are telling about the procedure of replacing the CV joint of the driveshaft. The drawing is actually showing a driveaxle. These axles do have CV joints, but don't requiring taking out the driveshaft.....driveaxles are discussed in another chapter.
  2. M70 engine only: on page 100-9, second picture from above, they are telling that the fuel pump relays are at location B1/B2 and the main relays at A1 and B1(!). This is actually wrong. At location A1/A2 are the fuel pump relays, at B1/B2 the main relays. On page 130-8, the first picture from above, the same mistake is made. This is double checked in the original factory manual.
  3. Most owners of the book don't know this one: the 2 bimmers shown on the cover of the book aren't actually E32 models, but in fact E38 models (later model, different car). I'll bet some guys are start running to their book right now ;-)
  4. M70 engine only: at page 120-10, 2nd picture down, the picture shows the plugs for the crankshaft sensor and cylinder identification sensor (pulse wire). According to Bentley, the 2 top plugs are the crank sensor plugs, and the bottom 2 are the ones that go to the spark plug wires. This is obviously wrong. Looking at the picture, the left top plug is the crank sensor bank 1-6, left bottom plug is the spark plug sensor bank 1-6, right top plug is the spark plug sensor bank 7-12 and finally right bottom plug is the crank sensor bank 7-12. Also this is checked in the factory manual.
  5. M70 engine only: at page 113-26 they say that the tightening torque of the intake manifold to cylinderhead is 22 Nm(17ft-lb). Don't do this! If you tighten those small nuts with that amount of torque, the bolts will break. The proper torque is: 10 Nm(7ft-lb) for the manifold to gasket nuts (M6), and the gasket to cilinderhead nuts (M8) is 24 Nm( about 18ft-lb).
  6. M70 engine only: at page 113-26 they are talking about the intake manifold removal. The fourth line of text from above stated 'remove throttle housings from intake manifold'. That is totally unnecessary when removing the intake manifold. Thats just another gasket to replace, risk of false air etc. You can leave the throttle bodies (DK motors) attached to the manifolds without any problem.

Comments found on the net (not verified yet):

"One comment I have about the Bentley manual is that they suggest removing the fan and shroud to gain better access to the thermostat. This is totally unnecessary: I was able to get to all four bolts and replace it easily without removing anything else."

If you know (or find) any more errors in the Bentley manual, please report them to us so we can publish them here.

Overall conclusion : good value for money. Search the web for the best price offer.

Rating :


BMW 7 series Factory manual 735i - 750iL by BMW AG Munich

Language : in this case English/American, but AFAIK available in any language

Total amount of pages : just to much

ISBN : not available

Photo(image)/text proportion :

Price(depending on supplier, may vary) : this used example is 245 Euro/US dollar, new price unknow

Electronic schemas : yes

Any recall information mentioned : depends on the version

Comments : the complete factory manual of the E32, including the electronic wiring diagram is very large (more than picture shows). In my case, it consists out of 4 huge binders with information. The information is very complete (you wouldn't expect anything else would you?) and MASSIVE troubleshooting diagrams. A lot of photos, completed with informative text. Virtually every procedure is covered with photo's, where Bentley has only a drawing or just text.

As far as availability concerns, you can still order such a manual at your local BMW dealer. But ask the price first, before putting those bills on the desk for a 14 year old car, and read a bit further.

So, is this book the holy grail for the E32 DIY'er? Is this book the ultimate goal to look for in life? Will I know everything about my car, also the unrevealed mysteries and secrets that Bentley hides or covers up? Will it satisfy my hunger for knowledge about repair procedures and will my skills grow, despite my empty wallet and hungry children for the rest of the month?

The answer is no. Why? Well, a lot of procedures are very detailed, but mostly requiring special BMW tools. Almost any page notes a special BMW tool to use for that particular job. Also a lot of special BMW equipment (not some simple SUN test equipment) hooked up to the bimmer is necessary. And we don't like special tools and special equipment. Because its very expensive and most likely we gonna use it just once. I normally try to use normal basic tools for the job and sometimes I have to make a special tool myself (like the socket that is used to remove the rear flange of a manual gearbox) and that's it. It's very annoying to read something like this over and over again:

"Adjust with special tool 11 2 330 22. Tighten with special tool 12 3 444 . Use BMW service station BU23 to calibrate with special tool 12 3 459 1...."

Do you see my point?

Trivial errors : none till now. Although a lot of the described procedures can be done without "...remove transmission and proceed removing....." or "...remove engine and proceed uninstalling....." or " .....discharge aircosystem and carry on removing the ...." despite what this manual says. Ever wondered about those skyrocketing garage bills? Here's your answer.

Overall conclusion : very detailed, but only for the die-hard enthusiast with enough money to buy the manual and special tools.

Rating :


ATSG BMW ZF HP-22 Techtran Service Manual

Language : English/American

Total amount of pages : 112

ISBN : n/a

Photo(image)/text proportion :

Price(depending on supplier, may vary) : 14 Euro/US dollar

Electronic schemas : yes

Any recall information mentioned : yes

Comments : Although this isn't a service manual for the whole E32, we decided to mention this manual anyway. Besides the factory manual, there isn't any servicemanual which describes the rebuilding of this tranny. That is not uncommon. But when the time comes to overhaul your tranny, and you want to do the job yourself, it may useful to have some information.

This service manual covers only the 4HP22/EH. This tranny is used on 730/735 models. The 740 is equipped with another tranny, the A5S 580Z, so you can't use this manual. The 750 is equipped with the 4HP24EH, which is basically a reinforced 4HP22/EH, to handle the massive torque of the V12 (450 Nm). Therefore, according to the supplier, this manual can also be used for the 4HP24EH.

This manual consists out of many photo's, including the supporting text.

The quality of the pictures is a bit disappointing. It looks a bit like photocopied images. Sometimes it's really difficult to see what they are pointing at. Nevertheless, it's complete and the text is clear enough on some specific details. Some special tools are still required, when rebuilding the tranny, but fortunately not on every page (see my remark about the factory manual about this).

Also, very important technical information is given about the dreadful premature forward clutch failure, which is a known common failure on these tranny's. A complete solution (replacing the steel ring for the teflon ring of the turbine shaft, drilling holes in the forward clutch to bleed excessive pressure) is explained here.

Also the wiring diagrams are included:

Trivial errors : there is a major error in this book. If you are rebuilding your tranny, and you aren't aware of this, you'll toast the tranny it on the very first testdrive.

Mark Standish added this comment about the ATSG manual:
I was going through your manual evaluation section, and noticed that you rated the ATSG automatic transmission overhaul manual.  There is an error in the valve body portion of that manual.  There are two valve slides that if you follow the manual will be installed backwards. They are on page 90, on the lower portion of the diagram.  Item number 2 which is the 2-3 shift valve, and item number 5 which is the 1-2 shift T.V. valve.  The diagram shows that you install the valves into the bore before the springs.  The correct installation is to turn the valve and spring assembly around so that the spring goes into the bore first on each of these valves.  I found this out the hard way when overhauling my transmission, and burned up two of the clutch packs.  During its first test drive.  After removing the transmission disassembling and checking everything against the manual, I contacted ATSG and they put me in contact with the man that wrote this book (
Mario Aristides, adress and phonenumber are known ed.). He indicated that he was aware of the error but the book was printed anyway and never revised to correct the error.  I thought you might like to add this to your website so that others may benefit from the difficulties that I had with my project.

PS The overhaul was done on a 1988 735i that was built 07/87 the transmission was the ZF4HP22EH"

Overall conclusion : very complete and very detailed. Some pictures are really difficult to see, due to the somewhat poor (printing) quality. But it isn't very expensive and IMHO worth every penny. You don't buy this at the local book shop. Try a tranny rebuild shop. I purchased mine at http://www.txchange.com/

Rating :

I have no affiliation with any company or firm whatsoever.

Story by Sean750.

If you would like to add any comments, remarks and/or corrections to this procedure, feel free to email Mike Oswald and we'll put it on our site. Share your experiences with us so others may benefit from it.