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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 02-23-2011, 06:20 PM
GraytoWhite GraytoWhite is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
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Mein Auto: Soon, a 3-Series!
Considering a 1998 318i

Hello all,

I am looking at buying a 1998 318i 5-speed for $2700. It would be my first BMW. I don't know how many miles are on it yet, still waiting to hear back from the seller. But it nevertheless seems like a good deal, the car looks extremely clean and is fully loaded with leather, etc..

What are some things I should check on to ensure that I will not have a significant maintenance bill if I purchase the car? Is there anything reliability related that is a concern with these?
I usually do all of my own maintenance, so I do know my way around a car fairly well, but any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2011, 07:38 PM
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miles_trail miles_trail is online now
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Location: Lexington, VA, USA
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Mein Auto: 96 318ti, 93 BMW 325IS
Ask if the cooling system has been replaced and how recently, around 80k the plastic impeller in the pump turns to dust. Other than that the M44 engines are virtually indestructible. I've also heard that the suspension should be replaced around 100k.
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2011, 09:59 AM
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drive by72 drive by72 is offline
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+100 for the cooling system, and +50 on the suspension. Make sure all the bushings are in-tact too, those are a PITA (especially the rear ones). Depending how many miles are on it, 2700 sounds like a nice find. Be aware though: Mommas minivan will outrace the 318. They're just slow (stock anyway)
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1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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  #4  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:16 AM
Theo podges Theo podges is offline
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Location: SOUTH AFRICA
 
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Mein Auto: '96 328i, '98 318is.
I will say that the radiator and thermostat might give you some trouble, the water pump on the M44 isn't so much of a problem. My 318is have 331000 km on it now and the water pump is still intact and running without any trouble. My 328 did get a new pump at 160000 km and a thermostat at 210000km, it seems to me that with the 6 cyl the fact that they are running the fan on the same belt as the pump causes a lot of strain on the pump bushings which causes it to collapse.
Another thing to check is if there are any leaks on your steering rack. I ended up changing the steering rack and the pump because of a leak on the seals of the rack.
Control arm bushes with the ball joints and tie rod ends are a definite problem, changed the 318's at 286000km and on the 328 at 217000km(might be the extra weight of the 6 cyl that caused it to fail earlier)

The only other thing I might add is that if you do buy a BMW it will not be your last.

Last edited by Theo podges; 02-24-2011 at 11:18 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2011, 09:47 PM
GraytoWhite GraytoWhite is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
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Thanks for the replies, I appreciate your knowledge! I am very SAD to say though, that someone else bought the 318i before I could get to it!! I'll definitely keep looking though, I am more interested in a 325 or a 328 anyway. It is just a bit hard to find one in good condition in Iowa!
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:50 PM
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TRaV MaNN TRaV MaNN is offline
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Location: Slackramento, CA
 
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Don't be scared to do a little bit of out of state looking too. The right deal will find it's way into your sight.

Read through all of the stickies and you will know what to watch out for.

Oh, and if anybody lists it as a V6....keep looking.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraytoWhite View Post
Thanks for the replies, I appreciate your knowledge! I am very SAD to say though, that someone else bought the 318i before I could get to it!! I'll definitely keep looking though, I am more interested in a 325 or a 328 anyway. It is just a bit hard to find one in good condition in Iowa!
I got my 328 with 170K for 3500. Was about an hour into Illi-cantdrive-nois, but totally worth it. Just keep a sharp eye out, and youl be much happier with a 325/8 anyway
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RIP Ben "Jever" Doebele, we wont forget you

Please, call me Chadley

1997 328iS... HR coilovers, Brembo F40 calipers, camber plates, it needs a CUMMINS!!

1990-somethin Chevy K3500... Cummins, cab swap, 5 speed, and lots of motor work. 20 MPG, 40 PSI, 507 ft/lbs torque
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