Thinking about buying 1999 M3. Please share your suggestions, comments? [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Thinking about buying 1999 M3. Please share your suggestions, comments?

05-23-2008, 10:45 AM
Hello everyone! I'm new on this forum.

I was wondering if I could get some suggestions or comments on 1999 M3. I'm thinking about buying convertible, with either transmission (I guess it doesn't matter, because I like manual, but I also like freedom that automatic).

This car would not be "commute" car, but rather weekend / evening car - 4K-5K miles per year.

Any input is appreciated! Thank you! :thumbup:

05-27-2008, 06:01 AM
I can't think of a better vehicle then this one for your application.
Be aware that if you locate the auto trans that you need to see if the fluid has been changed. If not I would most certainly do that.
I don't mean flushed but changed.
Drain the fluid out (this assumes you know if it is Esso or exactly what fluid it is in the auto trans) by removing the plug (in my case the plug is a huge metric allen bolt) and drain what is in there.
Then if you are anal, and I am, drop the pan and see what it looks like. There are two removeable magnets in there and you will see a bunch of black crap which is metal from the bands. All normal. Clean and I mean no lint, nothing in the pan and reinstall. Usually th0-e gasket is good and follow the torque specs.
Then refill the trans with the right fluid and when it starts coming out, stop and put the plug in and be sure the trans is in the correct temp for the fluid check.
There is no dip stick and yes this is how you have to do it.

Once you get past the auto trans which is actually a good GM trans then also do the diff with some good diff fluid (Redline, Mobil 1 etc and use your choice 70-140W or 70-90W).

There is a good "What to watch for" in the front section but overall (excluding the cooling system redo at around 70K) the cars are pretty bullet proof.

I get around 28 interstate at 80 and in town around 25 with a light foot.

I have 57K on my M3 and I have owned it over 8 years. I plan to keep the car at least 4-5 more years and I do put around the same miles as you do on the car.

Many people know how to work on these because most of the components are the same or similar to an E36 so there should be few issues.

I still very much enjoy driving my M3 and in fact I am going to swap cars this week and bring it back to Florida from Ohio.

Happy motoring, do people still say that?

05-28-2008, 02:53 AM
Well I have a 99 M3 vert...great little car as a weekend play toy...the only real issue I have with the thing is the auto (wifey-poo insisted...she then drove the car once and has since refused to get in the thing...go figure). Still it's an enjoyable toy with no real practical purpose's other than as an avenue for me to have a little fun. Obviously not the first choice for a person looking to have the best performing M3 available from that era (several hundred pounds heavier, somewhat muted handling when compared to the coupe) but it definitely fulfills near everything I wanted from a second vehicle...except for that damn's not bad by any means but the nature of the car though sort screams out for a manual.

Josh (PA)
05-28-2008, 06:02 AM
I've had two '99 M3C manuals and both have been great. They are a near perfect balance of fun/sportiness with just enough comfort, room and practicality to be useful. My two were/are very reliable as well with no high dollar maintenance issues. My first needed a couple of new thermostats, the second hasn't needed anything.

05-28-2008, 01:51 PM
Thank you for your comments!!! It seems that there are lots more cars with auto than manual for sale, so it might take a while to find it.

Big problem, is that almost everything I see for sale is far away, so I cannot even stop by and check the car out.

If I do buy from someplace far away, how reliable are those "independent" inspections? Basically, I have to put faith in them and let them decide if car is worthy.

05-28-2008, 03:31 PM
I believe the E36 vert was more commonly equiped with the auto than the manual...I noticed the same thing when I was first looking for my car. I actually bought my last two vehicles without first seeing them in person (the M3 I got near you in New Haven). Both bought with the understanding if I wasn't 100 percent happy with the cars once I checked them out, the deal would be void...but then, I've been messing around with cars and trucks for well over 35 years so I tend to have a nose for a well maintained vehicle. I hear that a good independant inspection is generally well worth it's weight. While they may not discover some well hidden problem, they will recognize a well maintained vehicle and report it as such. M3's being a more high performance vehicle tend to show their problems, if any, much more readily than a typical passenger car. Suspension problems stand out like a sore thumb. A tired and ill motor or trans is hard to hide. My advice is to go with the independant inspection unless your comfortable enough with your own car knowledge to recognize potential problems.