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BBQBIMMER 11-13-2012 06:27 PM

Purchase 1st Bimmer
Looking at purchasing my 1st Bimmer, a 1994 325iC that has only 56K miles. The car has been well maintained. The question is are there any issues that I need to be aware of this year model and also with the low mileage what would you consider a fair price for this car considering the low mileage.


drivinfaster 11-13-2012 07:06 PM

welcome to the fest!! :thumbup:

this is a great first move, for any car, but especially bmw's. there are quite a few common things that are known weak oints in our chassis, but they are a blast to drive.

there are some stickies up at the top, and the one should have a checklist of things to keep inmind when looking at a bmw e36. it's a lot to take in all at once, so pace yourself.

as far as price goes, there are so many variables with this that i usually say check the local markets.

regardless, a pre-purchase inspection (ppi) should be considered mandatory, as there are some chronic (expensive) failure prone areas to be on the lookout for. (cooling system:eeps:)
if that gets overlooked, then the resulting damage may be heartbreaking.

you could also do a vin check to see what options the vehicle came with from the factory, which you can check for 'value added-ness' (sport pkg:D, lsd :D:D, that sort of thing). the more of those then the more for the car.

don't be fooled with 'sun/moonroof' (99.9% have them), ac, power steering, and the like.

an 18 button obc is nice to see, as well as premium sound (2 speakers in the doors, not just 1), heated power seats, and manual transmission are nice.

i hope this will help you. post pics of it when/if you get a chance.

we like that sort of thing around here....:D


E36 Phantom 11-13-2012 07:16 PM

Congrats. Remember that rubber still ages by time, not mileage, and plastic ages with pressure and heat cycles, not time, so just because it's low mileage doesn't mean it will be trouble free. Still sounds like it could be a great car, just don't go in to it expecting the low mileage to mean it won't need any repairs.

Make sure to get a pre purchase inspection from a reputable BMW/German mechanic.

Good luck and welcome to the Fest!

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dc_wright 11-13-2012 07:37 PM

For an 18 year old car, condition is as important as mileage. A higher mileage car that has had regular/quality maintenance can be a better buy than a low mileage car that hasn't.
Classic example - my parents bought a new car about every 10 years and the car traded in usually had less than 20K miles................and in spite of the urging of me and my brother they did maintenance based on mileage not elapsed time so their cars got maybe three oil changes in 10 years.

BBQBIMMER 11-13-2012 07:49 PM

thanks guys- The water pump was recently replaced and the cooling system was serviced. During a test drive, one concern is that there is a roaring noise that seems like it is coming from the left rear wheel and at 60MPH and above there is a slight shimmy. Could tires out of balance be a cause? I will seriously look at a PPI before I buy.


E36 Phantom 11-13-2012 07:53 PM

Roar is usually a wheel bearing.

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drivinfaster 11-13-2012 07:57 PM


Originally Posted by E36 Phantom (Post 7193524)
Roar is usually a wheel bearing.

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or the tiger in the tank....:eeps:


ZeGerman 11-13-2012 08:04 PM

The roar from the back wheel is likely a bad wheel bearing, which costs in the ballpark of $350 to replace. The shimmy could be caused by a number of things, from something as minor as a wheel being out of balance, to worn suspension components. I'd shell out a few hundred for a pre-purchase inspection and have the car gone over with a fine-tooth comb.

BBQBIMMER 11-13-2012 08:04 PM

Yea- sounds like it could be a wheel bearing.


SCJon 11-14-2012 04:16 AM

Does it help to touch the roundel on the wheel to check for heat with BMWs? In the case of a bad bearing I mean...

hornhospital 11-14-2012 05:50 AM

Nope. The center cap is too far removed from the hub to be able to use it as an indicator of an overheated bearing. If the center cap is hot, the bearing will be smoking/melted. :yikes: Besides, the major part of the cap is plastic. It wouldn't transmit heat very well even if it was flush against the hub.

E36 Phantom 11-14-2012 08:29 AM

Like Ken said the Roundel is not a good indicator, it never touches the hub, only the wheel which would disapate any heat long before the Roundel.

But, you could probably pull the Roundel and touch the hub from through the wheel center bore to see.

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dc_wright 11-14-2012 02:37 PM

Even with a pretty noisy bearing you'll need a digital thermometer to measure the temperature and compare to the other hubs to see if the suspect hub was running hotter. The wheel bearings on E36s are pretty stout so they're not very heavily loaded. If you found a hub that was significantly hotter to the touch than the others, that bearing is long past being toasted.

BBQBIMMER 11-14-2012 05:18 PM

Thanks guys. I am looking at a pre purchase inspection to determine what may be the cause.

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