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mmah1972 10-01-2012 07:39 PM

Hello everyone new to this forum and new to owning a BMW. just purchased a 1996 318i. Convertable. 120k. So did some maintaince:
Oil change
New Plugs
Air filter
Fuel filter
Engine light with code for upstream o2 sensor and insufficient cat(replaced o2 sensor, engine light resolved)
Tire wobble at highway speed(replaced control arms and bushings,tie rods,sway bar bushings). All ball joints were shot.
From time to time the egret spinns in the egnition
Speakers are shot(put in used 5.25 kicker panel speakers can hear music now)
Replaced factory clutch stop... Much better without all the dead clutch peddle movement
Noticed driver fog light was loose (bracket has broken pins so I need to replace that so the light doesn't fall out when I hit a bump)
All new tires
Front end allignment

Any other suggestions as to maintaince needed?

Also I'm wondering if you would recommend 101 performance project (book), if yes does anyone have a copy they would like to pass forward!

Nice to find this forum,I look forward to meeting everyone
Mark H

AndrewZ 10-02-2012 01:13 PM

Welcome, try doing a search on this topic! :)

ZeGerman 10-02-2012 02:18 PM

Hey Mark. Welcome aboard! Firstly, in order to properly introduce yourself, you will need to post photos of your E36! ;)

Secondly, by far, the number one maintenance concern with these cars is the cooling system. After about 75k miles, the plastic used in all of the cooling system components becomes extremely brittle and will fail catastrophically and without warning. The result of such an inevitable failure is that you will dump all of your coolant out and overheat the engine before you even know what's going on. The other thing related to this problem is that the aluminum cylinder heads used on these engines can be warped or cracked as the result of even one mild overheating, resulting in a $1200+ repair bill. Fortunately, this whole issue can easily be avoided if you replace the cooling system components BEFORE something breaks. Comprehensive cooling system overhaul kits are in the ballpark of $400-450, and if you're slightly handy with a wrench, they are very easy to overhaul yourself. The parts which MUST be replaced every 75k miles (or now, if you don't know when the last time they were replaced) are the following:

- Radiator
- Expansion tank
- Expansion tank cap
- Bleeder screw (upgrade to brass is recommended)
- Thermostat
- Thermostat housing (upgrade to aluminum is recommended)
- Water pump
- Mechanical fan (can reuse fan clutch if it's still good)
- Hoses
- Belts

Definitely get this out of the way before you spend any more money on your E36. You'll either pay a little now and get it behind you, or you'll pay a lot later when something breaks. Otherwise, the 101 Performance Projects book is a good one. I'd highly recommend also getting your hands on a copy of the E36 Bentley Service Manual. It's the E36 maintenance bible, and WAY better than any other service manuals (e.g. Chilton, Haynes, etc.).

Echo46 10-02-2012 02:26 PM

I would also change transmission fluid and fluids and rear differential fluid.

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