thanks for the replies.
I did look for some of these things on e38.org, and i found many answers...
I need help finding local part sources most of the time... even junkers, although I'd rather not.
lights. yes they do come on all the time. key in - light on. i'll take the knob out someday and see whether it's broken or bridged or something.
cupholders... any other alternatives other than oem? nobody made a better product?
water pump.... i looked on realoem and yes there are two sensors.... on my pump there's only one. hmmm...
the cluster.... i can't get a definitive answer on this one. some say the dealer won't program a used dash. some say there's carsoft 1.3.6 that might do just that. I can't find anybody with it to give me a definitive answer.
wipers. i'm pretty sure it's not the ignition switch. i don't have any abnormalities described as a cause for a faulty switch. there is a tsb though on those relays. (updated parts)
siren... can't find anything on e38.org other than how to replace it...
so that's about it...
Thanks a lot for the input.
1998 740i - 168km