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E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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  #1  
Old 06-03-2003, 12:18 PM
rwg rwg is offline
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Common Maintenance Issues

I thought it might be helpful if we had a thread handy that mentioned the common problem areas of the e36 /M. Things to look for when searching for a new car and things to keep in mind as the miles go by (in fact, much of this list is normal maintenance). Here's a list off the top of my head:

1) Rear shock mounts

2) Rear Trailing Arm Bushings (RTABS)

3) Water pump (they seem to last about 40k miles even with the ss impellers, but 95 - mid 97 /Ms had a stock plastic impeller that failed routinely)

4) Transmission mounts (to avoid mis-shifts)

5) Shocks (oem seem to last about 40k miles)

6) Radiator (hose fittings crack - about 60k miles?)

7) Thermostat housing

8) Vanos failures seem to be fairly common

9) The undercariage panel seems to routinely fall off (and can be replaced with an aftermarket metal piece that stays)

Anyone think of anything else?
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2003, 12:23 PM
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zcasavant zcasavant is offline
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- Sticky 5th gear.

- Uneven idling on cold starts

- Bent wheels on the earlier models
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2003, 12:25 PM
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-Front control arm bushings

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  #4  
Old 06-03-2003, 03:21 PM
ARCHER ARCHER is offline
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Excellent! I was going to ask for a list like this - thanks.

TD, what exactly is the "fault" with the ingnition cylinder? The second time I drove my car the key seemed to just spin around in the cylinder without engaging. Perhaps I didn't push it in far enough...
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2003, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ARCHER
Excellent! I was going to ask for a list like this - thanks.

TD, what exactly is the "fault" with the ingnition cylinder? The second time I drove my car the key seemed to just spin around in the cylinder without engaging. Perhaps I didn't push it in far enough...
Exactly. It spins. Mine was fixed under warranty. Apparently this is VERY common.
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2003, 06:01 AM
ARCHER ARCHER is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD
Exactly. It spins. Mine was fixed under warranty. Apparently this is VERY common.
Hmmm, it hasn't happened since. As soon as I settle on a warranty I will have it looked at.
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  #7  
Old 06-04-2003, 06:14 AM
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-Plastic radiator neck fails, leaving nothing for the coolant hose to clamp on to. Only solution is a new radiator. Many replace this before 80K as a preventative measure, since a failure = stranded on the side of the road.

-There seem to be two independent transmission problems. One makes it difficult to shift into gear. The other occurs on cold days, when the detent for 5th gear goes away and the shift lever rests underneath fifth when in neutral.
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  #8  
Old 06-04-2003, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JST
-Plastic radiator neck fails, leaving nothing for the coolant hose to clamp on to. Only solution is a new radiator. Many replace this before 80K as a preventative measure, since a failure = stranded on the side of the road.

-There seem to be two independent transmission problems. One makes it difficult to shift into gear. The other occurs on cold days, when the detent for 5th gear goes away and the shift lever rests underneath fifth when in neutral.
Mine is difficult to shift into gear. Is there a TSB or something regarding the shifting difficulty?

Thanks.
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  #9  
Old 06-04-2003, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by zcasavant
Mine is difficult to shift into gear. Is there a TSB or something regarding the shifting difficulty?

Thanks.
Not that I know of. I'm just going from the experiences of you and TD.
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2003, 08:02 AM
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The oil pump nut can back out, causing a total loss of oil pressure and possible engine failure...
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  #11  
Old 06-04-2003, 11:21 AM
rwg rwg is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by zcasavant
Mine is difficult to shift into gear. Is there a TSB or something regarding the shifting difficulty?

Thanks.
There is a TSB for the shifting difficulty. If your car has difficulty getting into gear after it warms up, they will replace some pins and seals in the transmission. Apparently, the pins would catch on something and prevent you from going into gear. However, this is sort of like a catch - if you just have notchy gates, getting the TSB repair might not help.

Also, when I had it done, the TSB was not in the dealer's computer. Brecht seems to go the extra mile - they called BMW's helpline, found out about it, and had it faxed to them.
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  #12  
Old 06-04-2003, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rwg
There is a TSB for the shifting difficulty. If your car has difficulty getting into gear after it warms up, they will replace some pins and seals in the transmission. Apparently, the pins would catch on something and prevent you from going into gear. However, this is sort of like a catch - if you just have notchy gates, getting the TSB repair might not help.

Also, when I had it done, the TSB was not in the dealer's computer. Brecht seems to go the extra mile - they called BMW's helpline, found out about it, and had it faxed to them.
My transmission was replaced about 3 weeks ago. I suppose this problem shouldn't exist in mine. I do still have problems shifting, but I have no idea what is causing it.
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  #13  
Old 06-04-2003, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by zcasavant
My transmission was replaced about 3 weeks ago. I suppose this problem shouldn't exist in mine. I do still have problems shifting, but I have no idea what is causing it.
Do you have a clutch stop by any chance? Or maybe even a SS? I'd suggest changing the the trans fluid and/or readjusting the clutchstop. If your car is stock, then I don't know what else to say. Well, you're still under warranty, so you can always take it back to the dealer.
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  #14  
Old 06-04-2003, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cal
Do you have a clutch stop by any chance? Or maybe even a SS? I'd suggest changing the the trans fluid and/or readjusting the clutchstop. If your car is stock, then I don't know what else to say. Well, you're still under warranty, so you can always take it back to the dealer.
I have the stock clutch stop, and the stock shifter. I HAVE brought it to the dealer, and they replaced the tranny. Still having problems from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to third. Tonight, it absolutely would NOT go into 1st gear at one point. I had to pull it back into neutral, and then push it into first again.
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  #15  
Old 06-04-2003, 04:15 PM
rwg rwg is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by zcasavant
I have the stock clutch stop, and the stock shifter. I HAVE brought it to the dealer, and they replaced the tranny. Still having problems from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to third. Tonight, it absolutely would NOT go into 1st gear at one point. I had to pull it back into neutral, and then push it into first again.
I know you have been having this problem a lot and something is wrong, but - it's not uncommon for first to be locked out occasionally. Lifting off the clutch and pressing it down again usually fixes the problem. I think this is a characteristic common to all manuals.

Which leads me to the thought - maybe you should lower your clutch stop a bit? I kind of doubt it will fix it though. I have next to no travel before the pressure point and it works fine. How much travel do you have?
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  #16  
Old 06-04-2003, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rwg
I know you have been having this problem a lot and something is wrong, but - it's not uncommon for first to be locked out occasionally. Lifting off the clutch and pressing it down again usually fixes the problem. I think this is a characteristic common to all manuals.

Which leads me to the thought - maybe you should lower your clutch stop a bit? I kind of doubt it will fix it though. I have next to no travel before the pressure point and it works fine. How much travel do you have?
I can't imagine wanting more travel. The problem occurs when I hit higher RPMs. Puttering around below 3k is fine. Spirited driving above 4k is annoying - have to let the revs drop a lot before I can throw it into 2nd or 3rd. Perhaps this is normal. I need to drive another M3.
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  #17  
Old 06-05-2003, 06:13 AM
ARCHER ARCHER is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by zcasavant
I can't imagine wanting more travel. The problem occurs when I hit higher RPMs. Puttering around below 3k is fine. Spirited driving above 4k is annoying - have to let the revs drop a lot before I can throw it into 2nd or 3rd. Perhaps this is normal. I need to drive another M3.
That doesn't sound normal to me. My gates feel notchy in the lower RPMs (of course I'm comparing to the 330) but seem to loosen up during spirited driving. Shifts above 4k RPMs have been smooth and consistent for me.

With a brand new tranny, I suspect your problem should be an easy fix.

Have you posted to bimmerforums with the problem? There are a lot of E36 M3 owners over there as well. Never hurts to ask.
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  #18  
Old 06-05-2003, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ARCHER
That doesn't sound normal to me. My gates feel notchy in the lower RPMs (of course I'm comparing to the 330) but seem to loosen up during spirited driving. Shifts above 4k RPMs have been smooth and consistent for me.

With a brand new tranny, I suspect your problem should be an easy fix.

Have you posted to bimmerforums with the problem? There are a lot of E36 M3 owners over there as well. Never hurts to ask.
TD had a similar problem, and they replaced the clutch and tranny, and his is fine now. I thought mine was the clutch all along. The dealership insists that the clutch has 50% - 70% of its life left. So I really don't know. Every time I bring the car to the dealership, they can't reproduce the problem. Other people who drive the car DO notice shifting difficulty though...including 1 person on this board.
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  #19  
Old 06-05-2003, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by nate328Ci
The oil pump nut can back out, causing a total loss of oil pressure and possible engine failure...
Chris at XP Engineering said anyone tracking theirs should have this safety wired.
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  #20  
Old 06-06-2003, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by nate328Ci
The oil pump nut can back out, causing a total loss of oil pressure and possible engine failure...
Thanks to Ron Stygar's low oil pressure audio alert procedure, i feel a little more at ease about being able to shut it down quickly enough that it won't do too much damage if this should ever happen to me.
http://www.unofficialbmw.com/e36/int...oil_alert.html
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  #21  
Old 06-06-2003, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by scottn2retro
Chris at XP Engineering said anyone tracking theirs should have this safety wired.
I've heard that there's not really enough room to safety wire this nut properly without actually weakening the shaft. Most racers (and street pilots) are just tack welding the nut to the shaft for peace of mind. The other common option is to red locktite it.
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  #22  
Old 06-06-2003, 08:19 AM
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I think the premise of this thread is a good idea.

How about if there was a thread that was open and maintained by a moderator that was sort of an "e36 M3 Resources" thread.

It could have links to the Ron Stygar Unofficial BMW site and the eurospeed page, etc. The thread would just be one post by the moderator, locked and stickied at the top.

People could PM the moderator for suggested links to be put on the thread.

Maybe it would set a B'fest precedent
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  #23  
Old 06-06-2003, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by scottn2retro
I think the premise of this thread is a good idea.

How about if there was a thread that was open and maintained by a moderator that was sort of an "e36 M3 Resources" thread.

It could have links to the Ron Stygar Unofficial BMW site and the eurospeed page, etc. The thread would just be one post by the moderator, locked and stickied at the top.

People could PM the moderator for suggested links to be put on the thread.

Maybe it would set a B'fest precedent
Hmmm...

I may work on something like that. How about we make THIS thread sticky for the time being?
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  #24  
Old 06-06-2003, 09:45 AM
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Thermostat

The thermostat in my '99 M3 failed about two months after I bought the car. I assume the thermostat in the 3.2 is the same as the one in the 2.8l which failed routinely and was recalled.
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  #25  
Old 06-06-2003, 10:05 AM
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Re: Thermostat

Quote:
Originally posted by Josh (PA)
The thermostat in my '99 M3 failed about two months after I bought the car. I assume the thermostat in the 3.2 is the same as the one in the 2.8l which failed routinely and was recalled.
Right. Forgot about that; that happened to mine, too.
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