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E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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  #1  
Old 08-09-2012, 09:59 PM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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Red face To buy, or not to buy...

That is the question. I noticed a used car dealership some time ago and finally after months of driving by it, decided to pop on in and see what was there. I looked around, finding nothing that tickled my fancy until I saw a '99 e36 M3. It looked in reasonable shape had a clean history report, 1 owner for most of its 225,000 miles, and appears to have been serviced routinely. It's not perfect, has some rust spots on the body, but generally seems to be in working order. My brain says no but my heart says why not? So now I'm debating, because while I'd enjoy having something fun and awesome to work on and drive, I'm really not looking for a time/money pit.

Stuff I like about it:
Manual trans
1 owner for 185k miles
Appears to be routinely serviced
If mechanically intact, would be a fun ride with enough stuff to do to be fun/interesting without being a headache.
No mods.

Stuff that worries me:
225,000 miles. Wow.
No mention of water pump replacements. I know the later e36s had fixed that problem, but am not sure if that will be a problem down the line
The dealer bought it car at auction; I feel like I should be able to find out how much they paid for it by searching for records with the VIN, but haven't found anything useful. Said information would be a huge leg up if I decided to go for it and bargain with them.


In the end, I'm at an internal draw. I think this could be big fun or a total nightmare. Anyone have any advice? They're asking for $7000 for it, which seems like a lot to me for a car with obvious rust and that many miles, but I haven't had the pleasure of owning anything like this before, and while I'm looking forward to doing some work on it like replacing the thickly fogged headlamps, body work, regular maintenance, etc., I would prefer not to find myself trying to replace a head gasket. In the end, I don't want to bite off more than I can chew, and am worried this car would be a bigger meal than my eyes let on. I know that car has been sitting in their inventory for quite some time, I'm debating going in there and trying my luck with asking for an invoice and/or inspection report, throwing down a cash offer and seeing what happens. I don't know...anyone got any advice?

And yes, first time poster; please be gentle

Last edited by Psak8302; 08-09-2012 at 10:18 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2012, 06:44 AM
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I am sure the water pump and radiator have been replaced. None last that long.

The car will likely need some maintenance, but how much will be an unknown until you go over it carefully. Things like bushings, shock, rear shock mounts, lower control arms all could be fine, or could need work. Plus the cooling system might be up for parts again.

Give them a low enough offer to cover some of the potential pitfalls, or find another one.
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2012, 08:13 AM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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As a curious question, what's the highest mileage engine you've seen in an M3?
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2012, 11:18 AM
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I've seen one sell with over 240k miles. That one you're looking at may have another few years left (5 maybe?) so make an offer that reflects that. Depending on condition $2-4k would be my offer, but I haven't seen the car...
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2012, 11:59 AM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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How much did you see that one go for, if you remember??
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  #6  
Old 08-11-2012, 06:58 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Whatever you do, DON'T buy this car without a PPI, done by a BMW Independent shop. Mileage is non-important if the car has had all the maintenance required, these engines are solid as rocks if well kept. Ask for maint history records, if they have it and it looks reasonable, it could be a keeper. Depending on the condition, it can may be worth around $5k-6K. Remember this is a retailer that you are dealing with, not a private seller.
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  #7  
Old 08-11-2012, 12:14 PM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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That's basically what I was thinking. I know they bought it at a dealer auction, but I don't know how much they paid. I do know that it's been sitting there for a long while though, so I may go in there and make an offer contingent on them having it inspected first, and if they aren't willing to do that, they aren't reasonable people and my money is best saved for a new one in 2 years :P


So another random question. The high mileage on this thing got me thinking about engine replacements, and after some googling I found a few people who took the S50B32 from the e36 evo models from, well, the rest of the world, and tossed them with a 6 speed tranny into their cars. It didn't sound all that complicated, and it makes me wonder why more people haven't done it; perhaps it's just as you said, since a well maintained engine is rock solid, not many people have had to replace them, and of those who wants to replace a transmission and who knows what else in the process.

At any rate, I'll have to swing on by that place and play some hardball What would really help is finding out how much they paid for it. Does anyone know how to check how much a car was purchased for at auction, perhaps by using the VIN or something?
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  #8  
Old 08-11-2012, 12:39 PM
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People swap engines or transmissions for several reasons not only because they failed. Not sure if I misunderstood you but you will be responsible for the Inspection, not them, they just want to agree to take it. And for the price they paid, I have no idea how or if you can find out, but regardless, I don't see it as a good strategy since they have already their margins. Just offer them something and go from there.
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  #9  
Old 08-11-2012, 01:43 PM
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IIRC, there are some legal issues with the 96 and later cars and non-US or earlier engines.
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  #10  
Old 08-11-2012, 01:59 PM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial View Post
Not sure if I misunderstood you but you will be responsible for the Inspection, not them, they just want to agree to take it.
I'm very shrewd when I bargain for stuff, and if I can get them to pay for the inspection, I will It all depends on how much they wanna sell it. As for knowing what they paid, it helps me figure out what they may be aiming for margin wise, which can be useful with knowing where to start without being insulting.
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  #11  
Old 08-11-2012, 02:24 PM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
IIRC, there are some legal issues with the 96 and later cars and non-US or earlier engines.
I read that too...EPA related garbage, right? I didn't see any hard solutions for that, I remember a lot of "bribe the emissions testing guy."
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  #12  
Old 08-12-2012, 04:09 AM
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Only thing is, remember that violations of the Clean Air Act are CRIMINAL offenses. Not just a fine, but possible jail time. Your choice.

A Turner Stage 4 engine kit gets about 70 HP gain and is perfectly legal.
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  #13  
Old 08-12-2012, 10:28 AM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
Only thing is, remember that violations of the Clean Air Act are CRIMINAL offenses. Not just a fine, but possible jail time. Your choice.

A Turner Stage 4 engine kit gets about 70 HP gain and is perfectly legal.
I'd rather keep a car like this as stock as possible, but if I was to ever change my mind, that seems like a great option. The whole reason I mentioned the euro engine swap was out of curiosity regarding possible options I would have available if I ever needed to replace the engine, and it's sounding like the S50B32 route has more than a little bit of red tape. Good to know, not that I'd be planning on replacing the engine in any car that I'd pick up


On to another topic, rust bubbles. I would have no problem sanding, filling, priming and painting the trouble spots on the body, but matching the paint seems...problematic. BMW's cosmos black; has anyone found any great matches or would I be stuck repainting the whole car to make it look good?
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2012, 03:05 PM
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Any good paint shop can color match. They have an analyzer that will tell them how to mix exactly the same as the car, including any fading.
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2012, 10:17 PM
Psak8302 Psak8302 is offline
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I take it said paint has to be sprayed on?
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2012, 05:48 AM
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Are you goign to try to brush paint an area? Maybe for a chip, but beyond that, you need to spray.
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  #17  
Old 08-15-2012, 01:28 PM
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Suggest you read this: http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=17582

Do a PPI, factor in the remedial maintenance needed on issues identified, then make offer. Move on if you can't agree.

Private party sales are the way to go for both sides, whenever possible.
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