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aavi
06-18-2008, 08:43 AM
Hi all E36 fanatics,

I am planning to close a deal on an E36 M3 f door with 118k miles on it, the title and carfax history are clean.

Can you all please please let me know of any issues that i should check out before closing the deal, an transmission, engine problems...and other issues that i should keep in mind before buying this Iconic Car...

your help will be appreciated...

Thanks all...

Bruce
06-18-2008, 09:19 AM
Get a PPI done and know exactly what issues the car has.

fun2drive
06-18-2008, 12:40 PM
Carfax doesn't mean jack. It only tells you if someone had reported this to their insurance company or a police report was written. If someone nailed a ditch for example and had the car towed to a body shop for repair with no accident report or insurance claim then there is no record.
I have bought cars and trucks with Carfax and without a personall inspection you are at the mercy of the wrench that does it for you.

Are you going to inspect the car yourself?

If so read the maintenance records and see what has been done.
If the car has had BMW dealer work done go to that dealer and give them the VIN to run

Key points like cooling system overhaul:
waterpump
t-stat
t-stat housing
rad

Automatic tranny
fluid draining and replacement (not flushing)
Differential
fluid replacement

Brakes
At this mileage pull both front and a rear wheel
check pad amount and rotor condition
I am assuming that new rotors and pads are on this car and about 1/2 worn

Shocks and stuts
Will be totally shot if original
What replacements were used

Exterior
Check to see if the vin numbers on each front fender (open the hood and you will see them in the drain gutter) are the same. Check how the car is aligned that the panels fit well. Get down and look under the car all locations for overspray.
Are the wheels original or aftermarket? How about the condition of the original wheels and tires? Not unusual for negative camber BMWs to show some inner tire wear.

Trunk
Does the car have a spare and the tools in the spare well? Is the battery correctly vented and secured. How about the tool kit, tools there?
Overall condition of the trunk

Interior
Check to be sure everything, I mean everything works. Lights, computer, instrument panel. Is the service and oil inspection reset with green bars showing?
Any warning lights showing other then the parking brake once the engine is running?
External lighting, check all again.
Seat condition, electric move it forward back, tilt and up and down, door locks, etc. Radio stock or aftermarket, CD player in the trunk?


If you don't check this and get the car it becomes your problem.

There is a good section here and at bimmerforums.com that address what to inspect.

High mileage M3's are great cars if the periodic inspections and parts replacements have been done.

aavi
06-18-2008, 01:43 PM
thanks a lot fun2drive, i am doing the inspection myself and also considering taking it for a PPI to a place which specializes in BMW cars. I hope this is enough.

Also are the transmission on an E36 M3 good or do they need to be rebuilt? i mean are there transmission related problems often on it?

fun2drive
06-18-2008, 05:57 PM
Manual transmissions almost never fail. Clutches go around 110 to 125K miles depending upon how hard someone is on it.
Autos are fairly robust but many will fail at 100K to 130K given BMWs policy starting in 1998 of free maintenance at the same time they said the tranny fluid is lifetime.

If the transmission had not been drained and refilled a couple times then you might wish to plan on a change out in the near future. You can find low mileage autos for a reasonable price and that would give you a great car with few problems.

Is this car auto or manual?
I know of those on this forum and bimmerforums.com that have 200K on theirs and still going.
Hope this helps...

aavi
06-18-2008, 06:38 PM
Manual transmissions almost never fail. Clutches go around 110 to 125K miles depending upon how hard someone is on it.
Autos are fairly robust but many will fail at 100K to 130K given BMWs policy starting in 1998 of free maintenance at the same time they said the tranny fluid is lifetime.

If the transmission had not been drained and refilled a couple times then you might wish to plan on a change out in the near future. You can find low mileage autos for a reasonable price and that would give you a great car with few problems.

Is this car auto or manual?
I know of those on this forum and bimmerforums.com that have 200K on theirs and still going.
Hope this helps...

this is an automatic e36 m3.....do manual gear boxes last longer or automatic?

fun2drive
06-18-2008, 06:54 PM
See my first statement.
Manual transmissions almost never fail. Clutches go around 110 to 125K miles depending upon how hard someone is on it.

I would NOT pass on the auto. Mine is auto and I just sold my manual supercharged 325 convertible with a 5 spd and while fun to drive is not fun to sit in Tampa traffic with.

aavi
06-19-2008, 10:15 AM
See my first statement.
Manual transmissions almost never fail. Clutches go around 110 to 125K miles depending upon how hard someone is on it.

I would NOT pass on the auto. Mine is auto and I just sold my manual supercharged 325 convertible with a 5 spd and while fun to drive is not fun to sit in Tampa traffic with.

ok so i went and checked out the car externally its perfect, interior is perfect....the AC shuts on and off by itself which he is going to take care of...when i asked about the transmission they told me they havent touched it and that its a lifetime thing so nothing needs to be done.

THE CAR HAS NO SERVICE RECORD OR REPAIR WORK HISTORY, when i started it i felt the engine vibrating and i could feel it inside the cabin sort of up/down thumping vibration...but once the car was upto the temperature that had gone, the brakes are good.....

when i opened the engil oil cap, i saw there was some build up, really brownish kindda, as if it was corrosion mixed in oil....that kindda color....brownish....THE ENGINE AREA WAS CLEAN....BOTTOM OF THE CAR WAS PRETTY NEAT...i mean it was normal...nothing that caught me out.....

the side view mirrors didnt work from the switch inside the car that toggles them left or right but thats a minor thing....

?????????SO PLEASE TELL ME E36 M3 GURU'S WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW.....?????????

CTBimmerGuy
06-20-2008, 04:29 PM
If you aren't a real car expert and you're going to spend a few thousand but you think you want this car then take it to your trusted mechanic or a dealer and pay to have them do the following:

1. Pressure test the cooling system and inspect the water pump, thermostat housing, fan, belts and hoses. Start the car and run the engine for fifteen minutes and make sure the temp gauge is dead in the center. If the temp gauge is three quarters right of center that's an indication something in your cooling system is going to fail sometime soon. If anything needs to be replaced have the mechanic document what and how much it will cost. Replacement of the cooling system is about $1,800.

2. Do a compression test on each of the cylinders and have the mechanic document the results. The results will tell you if the engine is good.

3. Have your mechanic pull all 4 wheels and check the brakes and rotors. A new brake job is around $2,000 parts and labor.

4. Put the car on a lift and have your mechanic check the front struts and stabilizers and other components of the front end plus the rear shocks and springs. As has been said by others this stuff will all be shot if original. Replacement will cost $2,000 or more depending.

5. Check the tires. New rubber will cost you $500 and up depending.

If you're not paying much for the car and don't think it's worth it to pay a mechanic to check this stuff ask the owner if he ever had any of the stuff I listed replaced while he's owned the car. If he says yes ask if he can show you the service records. If he says no then assume it will all need to be done within 6 months and deduct the cost of all that work from your offer if you think he hasn't already discounted the price for it already.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.

e30e
06-20-2008, 04:36 PM
3. Have your mechanic pull all 4 wheels and check the brakes and rotors. A new brake job is around $2,000 parts and labor.
.

Since when? This is not a m5, I got upgraded everything on brakes for less 1k and even if I paid someone to install it at $100 an hour, it still would not be 2k for brake job.

Brakes take a mechanic max 2 hours if that, you should pay no more 800 for all new oem parts (pads and rotors) and labor.

Anyways, Pay for PPI, it will probably cost you an hour of labor and it will give you a better idea of what your dealing. I believe a potential $100+ investment into something your going to spend thousands on is a smart move.

fun2drive
06-22-2008, 06:19 PM
No fluid changes for the tranny makes this risky. It might go for a long time or might not.
Brakes on this car are simple to work on but knowing their condition is important because it is a gage of the care the car has received.
If you don't know if/when the cooling system was overhauled and you have not run the VIN at a BMW dealer (they will do this if you ask them and tell them you are looking to buy this car and they may need to do a few things) then you need to look closely at the fan nut to see if it looks like it has some marks on it. That would indicate it has been replaced.
The AC going on and off is the HVAC controller and is a capacitor in the display head which can be fixed for not a lot of money.

However the list is building up. At this point unless you get some information regarding the condition of the mechanical work I would pass.

I have seen a number of good compression tests on cars that had a blown head gasket. I don't know if this one does or doesn't but there are too many unknowns at this point for me to feel comfortable when there are other cars that have a history.

Like I said originally the key to a good M3 is to have the work done. Mileage is not as important as having the periodic maintenace work done. It is normal to find cars of this age in the 100K to 130K range.

Consider either a very complete pre-purchase inspection which by the way will still not help the life of the auto tranny which is an unknown or continue on to a car that has a better documented maintenance history.

aavi
06-23-2008, 01:13 PM
i think i will PASS on this E36, since it doesnt have any documentation of any service or maintanence records....plus its an AUTOMATIC...i believe a M car should always be MANUAL....

aavi
06-25-2008, 01:55 PM
ok so i ran across another E36 M3 now this one is the one iam looking for 4door manual...it has 97k miles on it....here is what the owner said to me

"One is for $2,700 that I spent on the car at a BMW dealership to correct existing problems and included their recommended 80,000 mile service. During that service, the O2 sensor and crank sensor were replaced. Also the brakes were redone in 2006 and a new battery was purchased in 2007. The car also has new tires with very few miles on them."

i might have to replace the t-stat and waterpump...what would that cost me?

aavi
06-25-2008, 02:12 PM
I am looking at one more E36, the guy has every record of the work done on the car...and he says that "Transmission : Fluids flushed and replaced every 15k-20k miles and gaskets, the waterpump and tstat were replaced"

is he for real when he says about flushing the tranny every 15-20k miles, i thought the E36 M3 trannyws were not meant to be touched...since BMW provided a lifetime warrenty?

this car has 153K miles on it as of today...please advice....what price should i quote him?

PLEASE ADVICE ME ON BOTH OF MY PREVIOUS THREADS

A Rios
06-25-2008, 02:33 PM
Will you be replacing the thermostat and water pump yourself? If so you can get a new upgraded aluminium t-stat housing, upgraded water pump w/ a metal impeller and new t-stat for $100. It's not that hard. I recommend you replace all the cooling hoses while you're at it. Also keep in mind who the seller is. Is it a young guy who makes the car scream like a bashee everytime he gets in or is it someone who treats it like he baby. In either case have a mechanic check it out. Be prepared to drop some $ for repairs if you're not going to do them. A vehicle which has been serviced at the dealer even after the warranty has expired is an indication of someone who was really maintained the car well. And 97k is much better than 153k.

aavi
06-25-2008, 03:30 PM
Will you be replacing the thermostat and water pump yourself? If so you can get a new upgraded aluminium t-stat housing, upgraded water pump w/ a metal impeller and new t-stat for $100. It's not that hard..........

I talked to him today seemed to be a really wise man the car belonged to his son who is out of country as he is on duty in the army. Was really honest and said he had done the regular maintenance.... In case I decide to get this car can I pm you on how to do the t- stat and waterpump change if you know how to do them. And I agree even if the 153 k is well maintained there is 53k difference between 153 and 97 k...
REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR RESPONSE THANKS A LOT.

A Rios
06-25-2008, 11:08 PM
Glad I could help. I can talk you through the install, but whether 97k or 153k you definitely will need to do more repairs in the future. So when you buy a car it's a good idea to invest in a repair manual. I got a very detailed CD rom version on ebay for only $3.99+S&H. It's paid for itself a thousand fold already. It is very technical however. For example torque specs come in Nm rather than ft. lbs. (1Nm=.7375622 ft. lbs.) Don't let that discourage you. You will also need a decent set of tools. Don't bother with SAE, all BMWs use metric nuts and bolts. Once in a while it doesn't hurt. For example to remove the fan clutch you'll need a 32mm spanner wrench. It was impossible to find one here in BFE where I live without paying an arm and a leg for it at the dealer, so I just ground a 1 and 1/4 inch wrench until it was thin enough to fit in front of the water pump. (Incidentally the fan clutch has reverse threads, so to remove it from the water pump move the wrench in the direction you normally would to tighten). You're going to love the M3. I've had mine for ten years and driving it still hasn't gotten old! A word of advice; BMW spent millions in R&D on this vehicle so don't think that lowering it is going to make it handle better. It will just ruin the ride characteristics and make you go through tires like crazy. I suggest you use only OEM parts. Arizona Autohaus, Pelican Parts and Bavarian Autosport are probably the best and cheapest places to shop for OEM BMW parts online. Shop and compare for yourself. Do some research and have fun. They don't call it the ultimate driving machine for nothing. :thumbup:

aavi
06-26-2008, 04:05 AM
PRICELESS...PRICELESS info. Thanks a lot will keep you updated on this one. Can not thank u enough... And to all of you who have given me info on E36 M3's thanks a lot

A Rios
06-26-2008, 09:20 AM
Anytime. Also keep in mind that the factory BEHR radiators are also a common failure point. They always come apart where the metal is crimped to the plastic on both ends (left and right sides) of the radiator. So if you do buy it and are going to replace all the other cooling system components, replace the radiator while you're at it. I got an all aluminium one which dropped right in (direct fit replacement) on ebay for $199. The crappy original plastic ones cost a little less but they don't hold up. You get what you pay for.

aavi
06-26-2008, 11:15 AM
guys any idea if the water pump, hoses, thermostat and the radiator are professionally done how much it would cost? just want a ball park range....please