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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 04-12-2008, 09:31 PM
Trucker Trucker is offline
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Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 318i
Few questions from a BMW new guy

So I just bought a 1993 BMW 318i this week and there are some questions I have with it. Unfortunately my car did not come with an owners manual, since a lot of these questions could be answered if I had that little item in my hand.
Little info. about my car:
1993 BMW 318i
5 speed manual
1.8L 4cyl
210,000km's

1-What does that button do that is between the drivers window button and drivers side rear pasenger button? It's the same size, but if there was ever any writing on it, it's been rubbed off.

2-What does the button that is to the right and lower than the steering wheel that has a rectangle with a lighting bolt type shape going through it do?

3-The previous owner changed the instrument cluster. I don't know what year it's from by the speedo goes up to 260. My question is when I turn the car on below the odometer it brings up a light panel of 7 blocks of lights. 5 green, followed by 1 yellow and 1 red going from left to right. I had 3 green lit up, but then today only 2 are lit up. Anyone know what this is for? Battery meter, oil...???

4-My fuel gauge has started dropping lately as if I'm losing fuel fast, then it drops to 0 and randomly will sometimes come back up to it's proper level. Any hints on what this could be?

5-The interior and headlights have a tiny flicker to them sometimes, is this a alternator, battery or other issue I can fix?

Thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate it, hopefully I haven't thrown too many out at once. I look forward to bouncing around these forums.

Last edited by Trucker; 04-12-2008 at 09:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2008, 09:45 PM
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dicor dicor is offline
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Mein Auto: 04 X3/94 325I/06 325 I
3- OIL..... green your good, yellow buy the oil, red change it.
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  #3  
Old 04-12-2008, 09:50 PM
Trucker Trucker is offline
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Too easy, thanks dicor. 1 down, 4 to go.
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2008, 09:54 PM
Roman-O Roman-O is offline
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Mein Auto: e36 328i & e30 325i
1)that button originally says "A M "
I dont know what it means thou .
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:21 PM
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dicor dicor is offline
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Being a new owner you may not know about the Bentley service manual it's kinda like the BMW Bible. If you are a DIY shade tree mechanic you will need one.
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:28 PM
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PJBIMMER PJBIMMER is offline
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A/M button is A=Auto for the streets, M=Manual for going up hills, stuff like that.
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  #7  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:31 PM
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PJBIMMER PJBIMMER is offline
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3-The previous owner changed the instrument cluster. I don't know what year it's from by the speedo goes up to 260.

sounds like PO put a cluster in for 6 cyl. car, you need a 4 cyl cluster.
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:34 PM
Scotty328 Scotty328 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 328i Sport
1) That button locks the rear electric windows and stops the rear passengers being able to operate them.

2) That kills the interior electrics such as the window's etc.

3) The lights are the service indicator, once all the green are gone it needs an oil service or inspection.

4) Common fault, probably the fuel sender in the tank.

5) That's probably related to the alternator.
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E36 328i Sport.
M50 Manifold with Big Bore Throttle Body, K&N Heatshielded CAI. Eibach Sportline Springs, E30 Wishbones, Powerflex Poly Bushes. 3.15:1 LSD, Factory M-Tech Bodystyling, Factory fitted Bilstein Dampers. Currently running 223 Bhp and 215 ft lbs, more to come.....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v98/liquidchild/My%20Car/328i%20Sport/Drift17sig2.jpg
Quattro ist fur sissies.....
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:35 PM
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kennedy1989 kennedy1989 is offline
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Mein Auto: E36 318is
3-The previous owner changed the instrument cluster. I don't know what year it's from by the speedo goes up to 260.

the speedo in my 318is goes up to 260 too.. maybe its just a 318i series thing? beats me...
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:42 PM
Scotty328 Scotty328 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 328i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennedy1989 View Post
3-The previous owner changed the instrument cluster. I don't know what year it's from by the speedo goes up to 260.

the speedo in my 318is goes up to 260 too.. maybe its just a 318i series thing? beats me...
Might be that someone swapped the dials out and fitted 6 cylinder ones. Pretty sure that 318i's clocks should only go to 240 kph. Where does the redline start on your rev counter? The 318's redline should start at 6000rpm IIRC, 6 cylinder redlines start at 6500rpm.
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E36 328i Sport.
M50 Manifold with Big Bore Throttle Body, K&N Heatshielded CAI. Eibach Sportline Springs, E30 Wishbones, Powerflex Poly Bushes. 3.15:1 LSD, Factory M-Tech Bodystyling, Factory fitted Bilstein Dampers. Currently running 223 Bhp and 215 ft lbs, more to come.....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v98/liquidchild/My%20Car/328i%20Sport/Drift17sig2.jpg
Quattro ist fur sissies.....
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  #11  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:43 PM
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PJBIMMER PJBIMMER is offline
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Trucker, does the speedometer read right? looks like you might have a speedo that reads KPH's (euro) not MPH(US)
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:49 PM
Scotty328 Scotty328 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 328i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJBIMMER View Post
Trucker, does the speedometer read right? looks like you might have a speedo that reads KPH's (euro) not MPH(US)
He's in Canada, as far as I know they use Kph there

Not everywhere in Euro uses Kph either. Mph here in the UK
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E36 328i Sport.
M50 Manifold with Big Bore Throttle Body, K&N Heatshielded CAI. Eibach Sportline Springs, E30 Wishbones, Powerflex Poly Bushes. 3.15:1 LSD, Factory M-Tech Bodystyling, Factory fitted Bilstein Dampers. Currently running 223 Bhp and 215 ft lbs, more to come.....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v98/liquidchild/My%20Car/328i%20Sport/Drift17sig2.jpg
Quattro ist fur sissies.....
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  #13  
Old 04-13-2008, 01:20 AM
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kennedy1989 kennedy1989 is offline
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Mein Auto: E36 318is
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty328 View Post
Might be that someone swapped the dials out and fitted 6 cylinder ones. Pretty sure that 318i's clocks should only go to 240 kph. Where does the redline start on your rev counter? The 318's redline should start at 6000rpm IIRC, 6 cylinder redlines start at 6500rpm.
wow.. i guess some1 swapped it then lol...
redlines 6.5 :P

how strange... :S
it belonged to an old man, then to an asian bloke who didnt even know where the bonnet latch was.... and had it serviced every 8000ks at a bmw dealer... and its got all this stuff on it im like HUH?!
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  #14  
Old 04-13-2008, 10:13 AM
Trucker Trucker is offline
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Location: Ontario, Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 318i
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJBIMMER View Post
A/M button is A=Auto for the streets, M=Manual for going up hills, stuff like that.
Seems like the button is pointless for me then having a manual transmission. hmm...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty328 View Post
1) That button locks the rear electric windows and stops the rear passengers being able to operate them.

2) That kills the interior electrics such as the window's etc.

3) The lights are the service indicator, once all the green are gone it needs an oil service or inspection.

4) Common fault, probably the fuel sender in the tank.

5) That's probably related to the alternator.
1-Tried having is depressed and then using the windows thinking that's what it was for, windows still worked. Maybe this is just a case of me not touching that button, or re-wiring it into an ejection seat for the passenger side.
2-Roger, thanks.
3-Is that based on mileage (ie. I've hit 5,000km's) or does the internal computer just read that the oil is getting old?
4-Fuel sender eh? Sounds pricy, do I have to replace the whole unit and have to go into the gas tank?
5-Roger, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty328 View Post
Where does the redline start on your rev counter? The 318's redline should start at 6000rpm IIRC, 6 cylinder redlines start at 6500rpm.
Pretty sure the redline starts at 6500RPM's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJBIMMER View Post
Trucker, does the speedometer read right? looks like you might have a speedo that reads KPH's (euro) not MPH(US)
Yep, in Canada so KPH is bang on for me.

Thanks for the replies guys. Hopefully these little things like fuel sender unit and alternator don't cost me an arm and a leg. Does anyone have links/prices for these things to give me a rough idea of how far I have to pry open my wallet?

Cheers,
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  #15  
Old 04-13-2008, 11:29 AM
Scotty328 Scotty328 is offline
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Did you try operating the rear windows from the rear of the car? With the button depressed you can still use operate them using the front switches just not from the rear doors.
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E36 328i Sport.
M50 Manifold with Big Bore Throttle Body, K&N Heatshielded CAI. Eibach Sportline Springs, E30 Wishbones, Powerflex Poly Bushes. 3.15:1 LSD, Factory M-Tech Bodystyling, Factory fitted Bilstein Dampers. Currently running 223 Bhp and 215 ft lbs, more to come.....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v98/liquidchild/My%20Car/328i%20Sport/Drift17sig2.jpg
Quattro ist fur sissies.....
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  #16  
Old 04-13-2008, 11:33 AM
Roman-O Roman-O is offline
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Mein Auto: e36 328i & e30 325i
I still dont get that "AM" button .
Is it like overdrive ?
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  #17  
Old 04-13-2008, 11:38 AM
Trucker Trucker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty328 View Post
Did you try operating the rear windows from the rear of the car? With the button depressed you can still use operate them using the front switches just not from the rear doors.
*smacks head
The correct answer is no. The answer that saves face, is yes.

*walks towards car
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  #18  
Old 04-13-2008, 11:51 AM
Scotty328 Scotty328 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 328i Sport
Lol
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E36 328i Sport.
M50 Manifold with Big Bore Throttle Body, K&N Heatshielded CAI. Eibach Sportline Springs, E30 Wishbones, Powerflex Poly Bushes. 3.15:1 LSD, Factory M-Tech Bodystyling, Factory fitted Bilstein Dampers. Currently running 223 Bhp and 215 ft lbs, more to come.....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v98/liquidchild/My%20Car/328i%20Sport/Drift17sig2.jpg
Quattro ist fur sissies.....
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  #19  
Old 04-13-2008, 12:19 PM
yourbuddy yourbuddy is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 328i
In my 328i I have the A/M switch, but mine is Auto not 5 speed...
For Automatic:
In A:
d = regular shifting
3 = sports shifting
2 = 2nd for inclines etc.
1 = 1st for inclines etc.

In M:
d = 4th
3 = 3rd
2 = 2nd
1 = 1st

I have no idea how that button works in a 5 speed.
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  #20  
Old 04-13-2008, 03:04 PM
Trucker Trucker is offline
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Just some last minute follow up questions.
With the oil gauge is that based on mileage (ie. I've hit 5,000km's) or does the internal computer just read that the oil is getting old?
And with both the fuel sender and alternator, does anyone have suggestions on where to go? As it all sounds pricy, and I wonder if I have to replace the whole unit and do I have to go into the gas tank?

Cheers,
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  #21  
Old 04-13-2008, 08:28 PM
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PJBIMMER PJBIMMER is offline
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Lift the bottom of the rear seat, the fuel sending unit is accessible.
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  #22  
Old 04-14-2008, 04:13 AM
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dicor dicor is offline
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Check to see If the lights flicker only when the motor is running then you probably have a bad voltage regulator.
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  #23  
Old 04-14-2008, 04:24 AM
Chris S Chris S is offline
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think its based on milage and the number of startups and conditions too but its advisable to change the oil before the indicator since it gives way too much time before your supposed to change the oil according .. ie if you follow that for oil changes there is a good chance that youll miss a few before it says that you should change your engine oil
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  #24  
Old 04-14-2008, 04:45 AM
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dicor dicor is offline
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Trucker you'll find this website helpul when you change your oil. http://www.autoshoppingcenter.com/se...ights/Bmw.html

Also let me relay my experience with oil and older BMWs. I bought a used 83 318I, years ago it had high miles on it but was in good shape. I had no idea what kind of oil the previous owner used. I changed the oil and used Mobil 1 full synthetic. It leaked out of every gasket like a sive. I ended up changing the oil again this time using a non systhetic Castrol. Evidentally the molecules are much smaller with syn. and fossil oil has additives that keeps the gaskets swelled. At least thats what I'm told. Don't really know for sure but I do know the leaks stopped as soon as I changed it.
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  #25  
Old 04-23-2008, 05:56 PM
Trucker Trucker is offline
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Thanks guys, appreciate all the tips. All good things to know to keep my bimmer hummin'.

Cheers,
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