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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-29-2005, 03:58 PM
eliza eliza is offline
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Location: joplin mo (soon to be KCMO)
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 1992 325i
advice needed

i'm considering buying a 1992 325i. i was wondering if these cars are reliable and/or expensive to repair and maitain. i have heard good things and bad things but never owned a bimmer. the air is out, the sunroof doesn't currently work, may need new tires in the near future, otherwise seems to be well maintained. body in good condition. whatever advice you have will be appreciated!!
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2005, 06:16 PM
ImperialDuckM3 ImperialDuckM3 is offline
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Location: Sunny Diego
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 355
Mein Auto: E36's
Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza
i'm considering buying a 1992 325i. i was wondering if these cars are reliable and/or expensive to repair and maitain. i have heard good things and bad things but never owned a bimmer. the air is out, the sunroof doesn't currently work, may need new tires in the near future, otherwise seems to be well maintained. body in good condition. whatever advice you have will be appreciated!!

A 1992 325 has a M50 Non-Vanos, which is good for upgrading. To fix the sunroof, you have to test if there's power going to the unit and if not, then check fuse. It could also be that control unit itself is defective. Local junkyard sells them pretty cheap, don't bother to visit your dealership (too expensive).

Also 1992-1995 then to have problems with their DME being flooded during heavy rain or car wash. Just make sure the outlet is not plug and you should be fine.

Check your waterpump, theromstate, etc.. anything related to cooling and oil. Basically, do a basic tuneup, if you don't know if the car have been maintain (do it anyway,just to be safe).

Good luck
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  #3  
Old 06-29-2005, 10:57 PM
vintageorange vintageorange is offline
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Location: Kansas
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: 93 325is
My opinions:

Pre 1996 BMW 325s are somewhat easier to work on if you are a do it yourself person. You can read the codes from the computer with no special tool, so you can diagnose problems yourself; many shops charge at least $100 to do this. Also inexpensive used parts are readily available and mostly affordable as many of these cars are being retired and parted out.

It also depends on your personality... Are you the type of driver that will not tolerate certain minor problems for a while? For example if the window quits working do you need it fixed right away, or can you wait and fix it yourself as time permits. I guess what I am trying to say is if you need everything in top order the car will nickel and dime you if you must get it to the shop right away. However if you enjoy the trouble-shooting and maintenance side of car ownership then you will enjoy some of the intelligent design of a BMW. And there is always free advice on these forums if you are willing to get your hands greasy!

Personally I would be weary of buying the car if the air is not working (unless it is a smoking deal)... I'm sure the seller has told you the system probably needs recharged, if this is the case make that a condition of the sale, even if it adds to the final price. A non-working air conditioner can range from a blown fuse to over $1000 in parts, better to know going into the deal what it needs.

One more thing, try and talk to some people in your town who have older BMWs, ask them what shop they take their car to, what they think of the shop etc. I would be willing to bet most will recommend the same shop, take the car to that shop and see what they think of it. It is good to get an unbiased opinion, especially from someone who wrenches on BMWs all day.
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  #4  
Old 06-30-2005, 07:38 AM
eliza eliza is offline
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Location: joplin mo (soon to be KCMO)
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 1992 325i
thanks!!

that sounds like good advice. i think i'm taking it to a mechanic today or tomorrow. the guy says he thinks the air conditioner needs a belt, which would be inexpensive if thats all it needs. do you know of a good bmw mechanic in kansas city that charges reasonably? i'm moving there shortly and would like to know before hand. thanks again
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